The Builder Magazine
June 1924 - Volume X - Number 6
TABLE OF CONTENTS
FRONTISPIECE - ENTHUSIASM OF THE CRUSADERS
THE BASIS OF MASONIC UNITY - By Bro. Sir Alfred Robbins, England
WHENCE CAME YOU AND HOW SHALL I KNOW YOU? - By Bro. Melvin P.
Johnson, P.G.M., Massachusetts
AMERICAN INDIAN MASONRY (Concluded) - By Bro. Arthur C. Parker,
Associate Editor, New York
GREAT MEN WHO WERE MASONS - FREDERICK DESMONS - By Bro. G. W.
Baird, P. G. M., District of Columbia
A REVIEW OF CRYPTIC MASONRY (Concluded) - By Bro. George W. Warvelle,
P. G. M., Illinois
AN APRON LECTURE FOR THE SELECT MASTER DEGREE - By Bro. Percy
Edgar Brown, Iowa
MASONIC JOURNALISM OF THE LONG AGO - By Bro. Joseph E. Morcombe,
Associate Editor, California
THE STUDY CLUB - Chapters of Masonic History - Part XIII, Various Grand
Lodges France, Germany, Etc. - By Bro. H. L. Haywood
DON'T HURRY UPSTAIRS
A Masonic Critic
The Nestors of the Craft
Bro. Frank C. Higgins' Theory of Masonry
Freemasonry as a Form of Mysticism
THE ARCHITECTURAL FEVER
THE QUESTION BOX AND CORRESPONDENCE
Dr. Copeland a Mason
Stone, Wilbur, Denby
Masonry Not in Business
Meaning of Am B'Tsafn
Science and Freemasonry
A Chinese W.M.
Texas Does Not Specify Number of Degrees
Principles Governing Fraternal Recognition in G. L. of New York.
Light Wanted on Masonic Funeral Customs
A New Special Research Group
Index fori 923
YE EDITOR'S CORNER
VOLUME X NUMBER 6
THREE DOLLARS THE YEAR
TWENTY-FIVE CENTS THE COPY
Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society
The Basis of Masonic Unity
An Interview With Sir Alfred Robbins, P. G. W., President of the Board of General
United Grand Lodge of England, W. M. Quatuor Coronati Lodge, Etc., England
Sir Alfred Robbins was a welcome visitor to this land during March, April, and May
as an official representative from the United Grand Lodge of England. Wherever he
went he was greeted with all the honors that American Freemasonry could bestow
upon so distinguished a guest; and he, with Lady Robbins, received such private
entertainment as must have convinced him of the high esteem in which he is
personally held by American Masons. While in Missouri he was the guest of honor at
a Specific Communication of the Grand Lodge of Missouri held in St. Louis, Monday
evening, April 2 1 , at which time he was made an honorary member of Grand Lodge,
being the fourth in Missouri history to receive that honor, the first having been
Lafayette. On April 23, he was guest of honor at a regular session of the Grand
Chapter, R. A. M., Missouri, held at Columbia, where he was made an honorary
member of the Grand Chapter. On Monday, April 2 1 , he was entertained at luncheon
in the name of the National Masonic Research Society and on that occasion was made
an honorary life member of the Society. The interview published below is the
substance of a number of his utterances made during private conversations, he has
revised it in manuscript and corrected it in proof. The Masonic International
Association was described in an article under that title, The Builder, April, 1922, page
99; the reader should also consult, for purposes of comparison, Bro. Oliver Day
Street's essay on "World-Wide Masonry and Its Desirability," The Builder, June,
1923, page 171,
THE wish that we might find some basis for union among all Masonic Grand Bodies
in the various nations of the world is one that most active Masons have long
entertained. Of late, certain definite efforts have been undertaken looking toward that
end; and the International Masonic Association, I believe, is such an undertaking. As
I understand the purpose of this association, it has in view the finding of a common
platform on which the Freemasonry of England, the United States, and all other
nations in which English speaking Freemasonry is practiced, may unite on the ground
of fraternal recognition with the Freemasonry practiced in France, Italy, Spain,
Belgium, and other countries where Latin Masonry exists. I believe that every Mason
who has at heart the general and far-reaching purpose of our Fraternity would wish
that such a thing might be made possible. But, speaking for myself, and having in
mind the character and activities of Freemasonry in England, I am bound to say that I
consider such plans thus far formulated as being impracticable, and as leading us on
to very dangerous ground.
The fundamental difference between English speaking Masonry and Latin Masonry is
that the former definitely and specifically requires of every candidate that he sincerely
profess belief in the Great Architect of the Universe before he can be admitted into
one of our lodges; whereas most of the bodies practicing Latin Masonry either ignore
this fundamental requirement or assume towards it an ambiguous attitude. If this
question is fundamental, as I consider it is, 1 know I can frankly say for English
Masonry that it will stand firm on its present position, the one it has always held, and
will in no sense modify or abandon this central necessary requirement. If we were to
do any such thing, English Freemasonry would lose ninety per cent of its
membership. I know it would lose me. In our opinion, such a course would require us
to depart absolutely from the original plan and foundation of Freemasonry.
Some of our brethren in America, I am told, take the position that in Anderson's
Constitutions a Mason is not expressly required to believe in the one living God and,
therefore, it is the United Grand Lodge of England that has departed from the original
plan rather than Latin Masonry. I cannot in the least agree with this theory. For one
thing, Anderson's Constitutions are not held by us to be an everlasting and infallible
authority: we know our Anderson too well. For another thing, it is not necessary for
us to prove by book and bell, down to the very text and letter, our present position.
That has come as the result of a gradual growth and development inside the English
Craft, long before our present organized Freemasonry existed. Our present position is
as completely validated by the unfailing tradition of centuries as if, in the
Constitutions of 1723, it had been specifically stated in so many words; and a candid
study of the history and customs of English Masonry since 1717 will convince any
student that from that date until now, theism - the sincere trust in T.G.A.O.T.U. - has
been central and fundamental in English Freemasonry. Back in its early beginnings
our Grand Lodge used as its official motto "In the Lord is our trust"; this motto was
placed on all our Grand Lodge documents; it appeared on the seal of every lodge
warrant; and it was stamped or printed on every official utterance of our original
Grand Lodge. Did our brethren in the beginning use these words as a mere formula
without meaning ? It is impossible for me to think so.
I am told that certain ambiguous formulas used by the Grand Orient of France and
other such Latin Grand Bodies really mean the same thing, and that in spirit and
purpose Latin Masons are at one with us. If they are, why do not they say so
definitely and specifically? Why did they change their formulas? They changed them
for a purpose, and that purpose is not ours.
All of us understand the conditions under which our French brethren work, the
difficulties with which they are confronted, and some of us may be in sympathy with
certain of their efforts, except that we do not at all approve of entangling Freemasonry
in political activities. Nevertheless, I am not at all in favor of seeking a union with our
brethren of Latin countries if in so doing we must abrogate that which is fundamental
in English speaking Freemasonry. Such a departure would be too high a price to pay
for any kind of unity. Many efforts have been made to devise some formula that
might serve as a platform for union on which all of us could stand. Thus far, I have
not seen any such formula, or met any man capable of framing one that would not
neutralize or even completely cancel what everywhere in English speaking Masonry
is considered fundamental. World-wide Masonry is a consummation for which we all
earnestly wish and pray; but what advantage would it be to us if, in gaining it, we
were to deprive the Freemasonry of all English speaking lands of that which therein is
considered most precious in the Craft?
If we are sincerely desirous of reaching world-wide Masonic unity, why should we
not begin closer at home? Among our Grand Lodges practicing our form of
Freemasonry there is much work to be done, because, among them, they have many
problems to solve. We have such in the British Empire, and I am sure that you have
such problems among your forty-nine Grand Lodges in the United States. Until such
time as a way opens up along which we may legitimately and honorably move toward
world- wide Masonry, why should we not employ ourselves in an effort to bring all
English speaking Freemasonry closer together ? The English speaking peoples
comprise a far flung brotherhood; among them are more than four million Masons. If,
in their activities and aspirations, they can be brought into close touch so that all
Masons among them can work together at the same great task, this, 1 believe, would
be in itself a far greater contribution to the peace and welfare of the world than an
artificial, ill-founded unity.
There are many ways in which we brethren of We English speaking peoples may
draw more closely together. My own visit to the United States is making me see this
more clearly than ever before. I am learning to know responsible American Masons
personally, and I have enjoyed the opportunity of interpreting to them Masonry as we
have it in my own country. If more of my English brethren could find an opportunity
to visit their American brethren, and if in turn the Grand Bodies of the United States
could on occasion send official or unofficial visitors and even ambassadors to
England, such personal contacts would in themselves do much toward bringing about
a more complete solidarity. At the same time it would be possible for us to work more
closely together at specific problems. I know that English Masonry is not as well
understood in this country as it might be, and I am equally sure that my brother
English Masons do not sufficiently understand the activities and problems of
American Masonry. If we can bring ourselves more closely together so as to meet
such problems as we have in common, even to the extent of giving specific and
definite service one to another, we shall be gradually building up that kind of unity
that will endure, and will be of great ultimate fruitfulness not only among Masons
themselves, but for all English speaking peoples.
Our English Masonry is very practical in its nature. I speak for my brethren there, and
I am sure I correctly interpret myself, in saying that we are not naturally so much
interested in antiquarian and curious subjects as appears to be sometimes believed
over here. For us there are two great and enduring landmarks, belief in T.G.A.O.T.U.
and the Volume of the Sacred Law open on every Masonic altar. What other
landmarks there may be I do not know; men may form such opinions as they wish on
that much disputed subject. They are free to speculate about the origins of Masonry
and try to interpret our symbols and rituals; but the main thing is that we shall do in
the present our own great and proper work, which is, through our Masonic fellowship,
to enlarge and enrich human brotherhood; through our obligations and teachings to
create individual character; and through our institutional activities to devote an ever
increasing portion of our time and substance to charity, kindliness, and all good
works. What does it matter whether we can claim to be derived from sources three
thousand years old, two thousand years old, one thousand years old? We have an
heredity two centuries old about which there can be no shadow of a doubt; and a
period of two centuries is a very respectable heredity in itself. The important thing is
that we shall practice and exemplify Masonry as we have it; and it is my deep desire
to do everything in my power to assist that end.
— o —
A contract was entered into between the Scottish Rite bodies of Little Rock and the
Grand Lodge, whereby the latter loaned them $75,000.
There will be little need for innovations and for new attractions in our lodges if we
shall keep close to the practice of our professions and devote our energies to the
attainment of a full understanding and exemplification of the ideas we profess; even if
we fail in some measure, a sincere attempt will meet its sure reward. I am not an
alarmist, and I do not share in the cry that is going up in some quarters of dangers
from without. The future is secure if we look well to our duties within. - Edward P.
Hufferd, P.G.M., Colorado.
Whence Came You and How Shall I Know You?
By Bro. MELVIN M. JOHNSON, P. G. M., Massachusetts
(Copyrighted by the Author)
READERS are requested to remember that I assume all responsibility for facts stated
and opinions expressed in articles contributed by me from time to time to Masonic
magazines. Printing them is not expected to be regarded as an endorsement of the
facts or opinions by the editors or anybody else. It is hoped that if there are any
qualified Masonic students who entertain different views upon any controverted
subject they will be freely and fully offered for publication. The only way to settle
mooted questions is to discuss them from all viewpoints. Instead of resenting such
discussion I most earnestly urge and welcome it.
MELVIN M. JOHNSON.
THE nations of the world recognize what is I called international law. It results from
the fact that no nation lives isolated; each has contacts with others. The citizens of
one travel into the others. Commerce travels across boundary lines. Each civilized
nation, therefore, so conducts itself as to have a certain regard and consideration of its
sister nations and their citizens. The principles and rules which grow out of this
relationship are known as international law.
Just so, the Grand Lodges of the world have an inter-Grand Lodge or
interjurisdictional law. Only in isolated instances has it been written into treaties or
enacted as statute law. It is rather the result of common consent. What, then, are the
general principles of this interjurisdictional law and how far shall any Grand Lodge
be affected by the laws, customs, and usages of another?
The first and fundamental inquiry concerns recognition. This is an extra-territorial
question. Each Grand Lodge must gain information from outside its own territorial
jurisdiction to learn what other bodies there are which claim to be Masonic and
whether they are really such. Having determined (by tests which will be discussed
elsewhere) that a foreign Grand Lodge is entitled to be treated as belonging to the
Masonic family, "recognition" is extended to it and, usually, representatives are
exchanged. These representatives have no real authority and their commissions are no
more than pledges of amity. Each Grand Lodge, as a result, acknowledges that there
are other Grand Lodges which, within their several jurisdictions, have as complete
autonomy as it has within its jurisdiction.
No principle of interjurisdictional law is more universally acknowledged than the
perfect equality of all sovereign Grand Lodges. It results from this equality, that no
one may rightfully impose a rule on another. Each legislates for itself but its
legislation can operate on itself alone. Disregard of this rule of interjurisdictional law
has been at the root of most of the disagreements between Grand Bodies. Each of the
Grand Bodies of the world should remember that as it may conduct its Masonic
affairs within its sovereignty to suit itself without interference, so it must accord that
same right to its other equals within their respective jurisdictions. If and when any
Grand Body so radically departs from the Landmarks as to cease to be a Masonic
body, it becomes, Masonically, an outlaw and no longer entitled to recognition. Until
then, so long as it comports itself with that courtesy and comity demanded by the
inherent nature of Freemasonry, it is entitled to maintain its limits free from invasion
and free from any effect which it does not, itself, see fit to give therein to the laws,
customs, and regulations of others.
The doctrine of fraternal comity, however, is likewise universal.
By the application of this doctrine, each Grand Lodge gives full faith and credit to the
work which each other Grand Lodge does with its own material. This means that the
Masonic status of each brother is determined by the laws of the Grand Lodge which
has acquired jurisdiction over him and to which he rightfully owes allegiance.
His status is to be considered
I. As Raw Material, i. e., as an Applicant.
II. As Unfinished Material, i. e., as a Candidate.
III. As Finished Material, i. e., as a Master Mason; Including (a) Questions of
I. STATUS AS AN APPLICANT
No application from a profane may be lawfully acted upon unless he has acquired a
residence within the territorial limits of the Grand Lodge receiving his application.
That does not necessarily require citizenship in the state or country within which such
Grand Lodge is located. Citizenship and residence are different things. Residence and
domicile are, for this purpose, synonymous. If a man is actually physically present in
a certain place and then and there determines to make that place his home
permanently or until his affairs so change as to require the removal of his home to
some other locality, then that certain/place has become and is thereafter his residence
unless and until he establishes a residence somewhere else.
Length of residence before his application may be received is another matter. When
one becomes actually a resident within the sovereignty of a Grand Lodge, it is for that
Grand Lodge alone to determine how long that residence must be maintained before
he may become a candidate. For any other Grand Lodge to attempt to impose
conditions as to length of residence, would be to dispute the sovereignty of the Grand
Lodge of his residence and to invade its jurisdiction.
Self-evident as this is, yet it is sometimes forgotten when the candidate has previously
been rejected in another jurisdiction. Once upon a time it was contended by some
nations of the world that when a man had acquired allegiance by birth, his citizenship
was perpetual. This has, however, ceased to be accepted as a rule of international law.
Would any nation contend, even for a moment, that one who had applied for
naturalization and had been refused citizenship could never apply for citizenship in
any other nation? Or, suppose the United States had a law which declared that no one
who had been refused citizenship should again apply for naturalization within five
years, and a rejected applicant should actually move to and in good faith acquire a
residence in France, would the United States quarrel with that Republic if it should
accept him as a citizen within, say, three years of his rejection here? Such questions
almost answer themselves. Just so within our Fraternity. When the Grand Lodge of
Pennsylvania legislates that no other lodge shall ever elect an applicant without the
consent of the rejecting lodge, that legislation is good and binding throughout the
jurisdiction of Pennsylvania, but the Grand Lodge of that state has no right or power
to impose its own laws upon Massachusetts. Massachusetts is just as sovereign as
Pennsylvania. It may decide for itself the material which it will accept. The law of
Massachusetts gives a rejecting lodge five years' control. If, then, one who has been
rejected in Pennsylvania has really and genuinely moved to and acquired a residence
in Massachusetts, and has maintained that residence for the required term, is, after
five years from his rejection, given his degrees in Massachusetts under its laws, he is
a Mason, neither irregular nor clandestine.
New York gives a rejecting lodge an absolute control for only one year. An applicant,
therefore, rejected in Massachusetts, who could not apply, for five years without a
waiver, according to its rules, may nevertheless, after one year, be initiated in New
York without it, provided in truth and fact he has been a resident of New York for the
time required by the Grand Lodge of New York. It would be absurd for
Massachusetts to say that it had the right to pass a law governing what New York
should do with its own material.
"HE MUST COMPLY WITH THE LAW OF THE PLACE WHERE HE IS"
Each individual has a perfect right, by civil or Masonic law, to determine for himself
where he shall live, provided he does live there. But while he is there, he must
comply with the law of the place where he is, not the place where he is not. No
nation, no Grand Lodge, in this era of the world, attempts to say to one who has
moved to some other jurisdiction that he shall not acquire a residence there (or even
citizenship) if he sees fit so to do.
It would be called ridiculous for one Grand Lodge to claim that if a man had once
within its confines reached the status where he might apply for the degrees, he could
never apply elsewhere during the term of his whole life. Is there any magic in the fact
that he has once applied? It will be granted that when an application has been made,
the applicant has thereby submitted himself to the decision of the ballot and, if
elected, to have the lodge do what he has asked to have it do. Granted also, that any
body has the right to say from whom it will receive applications. But is it not
ridiculous to attempt to read into his application an agreement that if rejected he will
for life remain a Masonic prisoner within the jurisdiction where he has once applied?
And even more ridiculous to say that he has, by his applications, imposed a condition
upon all other Grand Lodges in the world? When did they surrender to the uninitiated
such an authority over their acts?
It is obvious that a sovereign may do what it pleases within its sovereignty. And by
the principles of interjurisdictional comity, each Grand Lodge should accept,
acknowledge, yes, recognize, what all other Grand Lodges lawfully do within their
own jurisdiction and in accordance with their own customs and rules, always
assuming compliance with the Landmarks anal absence of insult.
Therefore, each Grand Lodge may define its own material. Each may say from what
resident male adults it will permit its particular lodges to receive applications. The
status of an applicant is determined by the Masonic law of the place of his residence.
The rest of the Masonic world should abide by that de termination.
The limitation of jurisdiction to the residence of the applicant is a purely American
doctrine. In England for instance, a resident of London might apply in Liverpool or
anywhere else. There is nothing inherent in the fundamentals of Freemasonry
requiring such a limitation as prevails in this country. The theories upon which the
doctrine is based are -
First, the assertion of exclusive Grand Lodge sovereignty over the territory of the
political state where it reigns Masonically.
Second, that the applicant will be best known and, therefore, more carefully
investigated in the municipal sub-division where he lives. This, however, is no longer
universally true. Rapidity and convenience of transportation now-a-days often cause
one's legal residence to be little, if anything, more than his bedroom; his business, his
social relations, and practically all his associations being in some other municipality.
In such cases, and they are innumerable, the applicant prefers to join where his
friends and associates are to be found. This he cannot do without technical
compliance with laws concerning waiver of jurisdiction which often lodges are loath
to grant, usually for financial and not fraternal reasons. To permit petitions to be
received by lodges located either where the applicant resides or where he has his
usual place of business would be merely to recognize existing facts and conditions of
life. It would usually result in the petition being presented to a lodge in the
community where the applicant is better known and more readily investigated. But in
Freemasonry as in government, laws seldom precede or accompany changed
conditions. They usually lag far behind.
II. STATUS AS A CANDIDATE
When a lodge lawfully receives a petition for the degrees from a profane, he becomes
a candidate. By petitioning he submits himself to the Masonic laws of the jurisdiction.
He has irrevocably given to that 1 lodge the right to accept or reject his application.
Until that particular lodge has either declined to do or has actually done what he has
requested, no other lodge in the world may deal with him. He has given the lodge to
which he has applied what a lawyer would call an irrevocable option. The lodge may
refuse his petition. If so, then there has been and is no contract, no agreement
whatever between the applicant and the Fraternity. He did what he could to make an
agreement but the Fraternity refused to make it. True, the Grand Lodge may impose
certain disabilities upon its own lodges from receiving his petition again within a
certain length of time, or except under certain conditions. But the applicant is himself
free once more. He proffered himself and his fees. The Fraternity spurned his offer
and that's the end of it so far as he is concerned. The Grand Lodge may impose
conditions upon itself, its lodges and its members, but not upon him.
If, however, the lodge accepts his application by electing the applicant, then the
situation is analogous to what the law calls a contract. By that election the lodge has
bound the Fraternity to give him the degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and
Master Mason subject to and in accordance with its customs and laws. Until this
agreement has been carried out (or terminated in accordance with law, as, for
instance, on objection duly sustained) no other lodge in the world may deal with this
unfinished material. The same principles apply where there is a separate vote in each
degree which is merely piecemeal acceptance.
Thus, the status of a candidate from the presentation of his petition to his rejection, or
to his declaration as a Master Mason is that of being under the exclusive jurisdiction
of the lodge which first lawfully receives his petition. This is true even if in the
meantime he moves his residence to the uttermost corners of the earth.
III. STATUS AS FINISHED MATERIAL, i. e. AS A MASTER MASON
At the close of the ceremonies of the Third Degree the candidate becomes a Master
Masons The agreement which he and the lodge made is completed. The contract is
executed. His ties now are those of his obligations, no more, no less. He is a member
of the Fraternity but not of any lodge. In most, if not all, jurisdictions he is entitled to
membership in the lodge upon signing the by-laws, though sometimes he must first
learn his Third Degree lecture.
But he need not join that lodge. If he chooses he may, instead, apply to any lodge
anywhere for membership. No longer do jurisdictional lines restrict his freedom. And
at his own free will, if he is square upon the books and not under charges, he may
terminate his membership in any lodge to which he may belong. The methods by
which he alters his lodge membership do not affect the question we are now
discussing, i. e., his status as a Master Mason.
In some jurisdictions he may be a member of as many lodges as he sees fit, if duly
elected to membership therein. In most jurisdictions, however, dual or plural
membership is forbidden though a good reason for such prohibition has never yet
been given. It, again, is a purely American and quite modem prohibition and is surely,
though slowly, being discarded. Where it still persists its greatest hardship is in
compelling a brother to sever connection with his mother lodge, of which perhaps he
is a Past Master, when his affairs call him to another community where he would
affiliate if he could, or, as the alternative, be barred from sharing in the labors and
support of the lodge of his new residence. The result is often to lose his Masonic
activity wholly from the Fraternity. His sentiment keeps his membership with his
mother lodge which distance prevents him from attending. He does not feel right to
share in the pleasures of a lodge he might readily attend because he cannot be a
member. Consequently, he attends neither the one nor the other except at rare
intervals, and his enthusiasm wanes.
Whether or not a Master Mason is in good standing if he be not a member of a lodge
is a question which each jurisdiction decides for itself. Some make no distinction
between affiliated and unaffiliated brethren. Some deny visitation, relief, and other
Masonic privileges to those who remain voluntarily, for a certain length of time,
unaffiliated. Each jurisdiction is a law unto itself and its laws apply upon its lodges
and within its jurisdiction when a Master Mason within that jurisdiction applies for
any of the rights or privileges of Freemasonry.
What then is the status of a Master Mason desiring to visit a regular lodge? The lodge
first wants to know if he is in good standing. If he is in good standing in a regular
lodge of a recognized jurisdiction, he is by the universal law of the Craft in good
standing everywhere. If he is not in good standing in the jurisdiction from which he
hails, he is not in good standing anywhere.
Suppose he is in good standing. What is his status as regards visitation ? By some
Masonic jurists it has been held and in some jurisdictions it has been enacted into law,
that the right of visitation is a Landmark. I doubt it. But leave that question for
consideration elsewhere. Whether or not the right of visitation is a Landmark,
however, it is clear that in order to visit there must be a full and complete compliance
with the conditions with regard to visitation imposed by the jurisdiction where
visitation is sought. There is no inter-Grand Lodge law which defines how any
particular Grand Lodge shall determine the question of the qualifications by which
the lodge to which the visitor applies shall ascertain whether or not it will admit him.
One rule and one rule only is absolutely universal, to wit, that he must submit himself
to an examination.
EACH GRAND LODGE DETERMINES ITS OWN METHOD OF
There is no inter-Grand Lodge law which determines the elements or processes of the
examination. One Grand Lodge may proceed upon a mental examination alone.
Another Grand Lodge may require documentary evidence as an element of that
examination. Each Grand Lodge may direct its particular lodges how extensively the
mental tests shall be applied, equally each Grand Lodge may determine the particular
kind of documentary evidence which it regards as sufficient. In laying down rules
with regard to documentary evidence each Grand Lodge is expected by its sister
Grand Lodges to recognize the principle of comity. It therefore will consider in laying
down its rules what kind of documentary evidence, if any, is furnished by the
jurisdiction from which visitors may come. But when it has considered this question
and has determined exactly what type of documentary evidence it will require, that
determination within the particular jurisdiction is final and conclusive. No other
Grand Lodge has the right to invade the sovereignty of the Grand Lodge in question
and demand that it shall or shall not establish a particular form of documentary
evidence which happens to suit another Grand Lodge or other Grand Lodges.
Take as a conspicuous instance the recent unfortunate controversy between the Grand
Lodges of New Hampshire and Kansas. The Grand Lodge of Kansas apparently
demands that the law with regard to the documentary evidence required as a part of
the examination of a visitor in New Hampshire shall be made not by the Grand Lodge
of New Hampshire but the Grand Lodge of Kansas. In other words, the Grand Lodge
of Kansas demands that it shall determine what the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire
shall accept in examinations of visitors in New Hampshire. By so doing the Grand
Lodge of Kansas demands the right to determine for New Hampshire and for exercise
within the State of New Hampshire that which the sovereign Grand Lodge of New
Hampshire alone has the right to decide.
The Masonic jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire is complete and
unlimited and sovereign throughout the entire State of New Hampshire. The Grand
Lodge of Kansas can no more/pass laws which the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire
must observe than New Hampshire could demand a similar thing in Kansas. Would it
not be obviously absurd for the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire to demand that the
Grand Lodge of Kansas should change its Ritual? Kansas would say that its Grand
Lodge alone had the right to legislate upon that matter so long as it kept within the
Landmarks. To ask the question if the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire could lay
down rules of mental examination of visitors from New Hampshire applying in
Kansas is to make the answer obvious. If the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire cannot
establish the tests of mental examination conducted by Kansas, how can it be said that
the Grand Lodge of Kansas can establish the tests of that part of the examination
which is documentary for the Grand Lodge of Nest Hampshire ?
WHERE DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE IS DEMANDED
It is true that there are some who argue that requiring documentary evidence of any
kind is un-Masonic, but those who make such a contention cannot have studied the
history of the past. In 1763 the Grand Lodge of England made a regulation reading,
"No person hereafter, who shall be accepted as a Freemason, shall be admitted into
any Lodge or Assembly until he has brought a CERTIFICATE of the time and place
of his acceptance from the Lodge that accepted him, unto the Master of that limit, or
district, where such Lodge is kept."
As recently as June 5, 1895, the United Grand Lodge of England, after careful
consideration, upheld a Master who refused to admit a visitor without documentary
evidence. As early as 1798 the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts procured a plate to be
engraved for such certificates. The demanding of documentary evidence was
approved by the Baltimore convention of 1843, and indeed the ancient charters and
regulations to which every Master-elect submits and which he promises to support
according to the almost universal phraseology contain as the fifteenth paragraph:
"You agree that no visitors shall be received into your Lodge without due
examination and producing proper vouchers for their having been initiated in a
regular Lodge." Who is to determine what are proper vouchers except the Grand
Lodge? What Grand Lodge is to determine them except the Grand Lodge of the
jurisdiction where the visitors apply? If it be contended that the jurisdiction where he
was made a Master Mason determines what vouchers it will issue, it is nevertheless
clear that that Grand Lodge cannot determine the same question for any other Grand
Lodge. His status as a Master Mason is fixed by the Grand Lodge to which he owes
allegiance. How the jurisdiction where he seeks to visit shall find out that status is for
the latter jurisdiction to determine. Each jurisdiction which admits the visitor must
determine for itself and by virtue of the inherent right of its sovereignty what will be
regarded as proper vouchers in its particular lodges. In the instance to which we have
referred the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire has determined what it regards as proper
vouchers. If other Grand Lodges are unwilling to give their members the kind of
vouchers which New Hampshire regards as proper, they unquestionably have such a
right, but if they do so they deny to their own members the privilege of visiting in
To press the illustration a little further, if one Grand Lodge should see fit to transpose
the passwords of the Third and Second Degrees, as the Grand Lodge of England did a
good many years ago, its brethren would undoubtedly be members of the Fraternity,
but it might be impossible for them to visit in some other jurisdiction.
Along these lines of reasoning the writer reaches the conclusion that the status as a
prospective visitor of any Master Mason in good standing, when outside of the
jurisdiction from which he hails, although determined by the jurisdiction of his
affiliation, less, ascertained according to the laws of the jurisdiction where he seeks to
visit. For one Grand Fodge to deny recognition of another Grand Lodge, because the
latter's regulations in this regard do not happen to suit the ideas of the former, is to
wage Masonic war. If that war be waged successfully the result would be to impose a
limitation upon the sovereignty of the vanquished Grand Lodge by permitting the
victor to legislate upon this subject for the other, thereby successfully invading its
Ilia. STATUS FOR PURPOSES OF DISCIPLINE
By this I mean, Where may a Freemason be tried for an alleged Masonic offense ?
There are four theories of criminal jurisprudence in the criminal courts of the world.
First: Forum delicti commissi. This is the territorial theory. Under this theory, crime
may be punished only by the sovereign of the place where the crime is committed and
only then when the offender has been brought before a court at that place for trial.
This is the Anglo-Saxon common law theory and the basis of criminal jurisdiction in
the United States.
Second: Forum ligeantiae. This is the theory of the forum of allegiance the Roman
and French theory. It is that the sovereign to which the offender owes political
allegiance may punish him for an offense committed anywhere in the world.
Third: Forum laesae civitatis. This is the theory of the forum of the injured state and
is adopted more or less in continental Europe. The question here is, What sovereign
was injured by the act of the alleged criminal ?
Fourth: Forum deprehensionis. This is the theory of the forum of capture. It is the
Italian theory, that of cosmopolitan justice. Under this theory any sovereign power
who apprehends the criminal may punish him no matter where he committed the
offense and entirely irrespective of his citizenship.
WHERE A MASON MAY BE TRIED
The disciplinary powers of Freemasonry for general Masonic offenses (but not for
violations of mere local regulations) are not limited to any one of these theories, nor
to the theory adopted by the civil government within which the Grand Lodge in
question is located. It has been developed as the common law of the Fraternity that a
Mason may be tried either by the body to which he owes allegiance or by the Masonic
tribunals of any jurisdiction within which the offender is residing and may be reached
for service of papers upon him. In other words, if a Mason belonging to a lodge in the
State of Washington commits a Masonic offense in Iowa and then goes to Florida for
the winter, he may be tried by the Masonic tribunals appointed under the laws of the
Grand Lodge of Washington because that is the Grand Lodge of his allegiance. He
may be tried by the Masonic tribunals of Florida because he is there where service
may be had upon him. He may not be tried by the Masonic tribunals of Iowa where he
committed the offense, however, unless he belongs to a lodge in Iowa or the Grand
Lodge of Iowa can get service upon him while he is within that state. In other words,
the Masonic theory of punishment does not follow the common law territorial theory.
Neither does it follow the continental theory of the forum of the injured state. It does
follow the theories of the forum of allegiance and forum of capture.
We must always be cautious lest we regard ideas of Masonic government as derived
from the principles of civil government. Unconsciously it is assumed, often, that the
correct principles of civil government must apply to all government. It was well
stated by Vaux: "Freemasonry is a law unto itself." Drummond added:
"This law must be sought in the fundamental principles of the Institution, as
expounded and defined by the usages of the Craft. The first lesson taught in Masonry,
indeed, forcibly suggests that Masonic laws are based upon the laws of God."
Drummond declared, as the result of his Masonic life's experience and study of
Masonry, in all of its rites and degrees, that "this natural tendency to apply the
principles of the civil law, to mould Masonry according to modern ideas, and bring it
'in accord with the. spirit of the times,' rather than to abide by the old laws and the
ancient usages of the Craft, is the greates danger to the prosperity and perpetuity of
— o —
American Indian Masonry
(Concluded from May)
By Bro. ARTHUR C. PARKER, Associate Editor,
(Copyright by Arthur C. Parker)
IT would be an interesting thing to trace out the various forms of religious belief held
by the American natives, but though there are those competent to write upon this
subject, it is so vast in its extent that no individual writer has yet dared the attempt.
We have briefly outlined the essential features of the Indian's belief, but of the
numerous customs and rites we have yet suggested little. Perhaps an outline of the
religious rites of a single nation or stock will suffice. Let us take the Iroquois.
To the Iroquois the world was the handiwork of a Creator. He was known under
various names - Great Ruler, Good Mind, Sky Dweller, Creator. It was believed that
life came to the earth from the heaven world in the form of a woman ready to give life
to a girl child. The great Turtle of the black chaos seeing a rift in the sky above called
out to the water creatures of the darkness and told them of the event bidding them to
try to bring some substance that would grow if placed upon his shell. At length after
many creatures had perished one deposited the earthly substance on the turtle's back
and the substance grew. Then the night birds flew upward and received the Sky
Mother on an island formed by their interlaced wings. With great gentleness she was
placed upon the earthy back of the Turtle. As she rested there a girl child was bom
who immediately grew and became mature. All was dark until the Sky Mother stuck
the stalk of the Flower of Light in the soil.
The first born then commenced to go round and round the island finding that it
became larger each time she tried the journey. One of her latter journeys took longer
than others for the island had grown very near a place called East. She paused on the
shore and a warm wind came and whispered to her. She felt it encircle her and lift her
from her feet but her heart was thrilled with a strange ecstacy. She went back to the
camp of her mother and told of the strange experience, but the Sky Mother only wept.
After a season the First-bom-of-Earth gave birth to two boys, one called the Light
One and the other the Dark One, who had a heart of flint. In giving birth to the twins
the mother died leaving them to the care of the Sky Mother. The boys grew to
maturity immediately and demanded to know their father. One was kind and built
things; the other was ferocious and destroyed anything that came his way. The Light
One received the name of Good Minded and the evil one was called Bad Minded.
Good Minded cared for the grave of his mother and watered it because the Sky
Mother had told him to do so. He watched over it with great devotion until he was
rewarded by seeing plants spring from the grave. The tobacco came from the head,
the corn from her breasts, the pumpkin from her waist and the edible tubers and beans
from her feet. Good Minded then asked his mother where he should go to find his
father and was told to journey to the east sea and cross to a mountain raising from the
water. This, after great difficulty, he did. As he stood at the base of the mountain he
called, "My Father, where art thou ?" And the reply came, "A Son of Mine shall cast
the great cliffs from the mountain's edge to the summit of this peak." Good Minded
clasped the cliffs and flung them afar over the top of the mountain. Then came the
voice, "A Son of Mine shall swim the cataract from the base to the top." Good
Minded flung himself into the merciless current and swam his way upward to the top
of a ledge near the mountain top. Then again the voice sounded, "A Son of Mine shall
wrestle with the hurricane." A great wind swept about Good Minded as if to sweep
him from his unstable footing, but he wrestled with the wind though he could not see
it nor tell where to grasp it, until the hurricane cried out, "Enough, for you have
exhausted my breath." Once more the voice sounded, "A Son of Mine shall brave the
fire of hottest flame. Come!" From the mountainside burst a sheet of flame that
burned and blinded Good Minded, but he pushed through the twisting arms and ran
up the mountain to the summit. There in repose was a being so infinitely brilliant that
Good Minded could scarcely see.
"I am thy Father," said the Fight, "thou art My Son."
Then the Father gave to Good Minded the power to make the earth grow with all
manner of plants and trees. In a package he placed the magical dust that would
become animal life. Fong the Father spoke to his Son and then bade him depart.
When Good Minded returned to the Earth Island and told his grandmother, the Sky
Woman, where he had been and what power he had received, Bad Minded became
very jealous and by an ingenious plan sought to destroy him. But after a lengthy battle
the Bad Minded was vanquished and put in a deep cavity in the earth along with all
the perverted and distorted creatures he had made from the good creatures. And the
evil creatures were banished because they chose to be evil rather than as they had
Then the Good Minded took the face of his mother and flung it into the heavens and it
became the moon. And at that time a new light far more brilliant appeared; it was the
sun. So came the sun to rule the day and the moon to give hope to the night.
And when all things had been perfected, Good Minded looked into a pool of water
and saw his own face. He took a handful of clay and molded his image and it became
There were many pre-humans on the Earth then and they were subdued and told their
function. They were forbidden to molest men. When all this was finished, the Sky
Mother said to her grandson, "We must return to the world above the sky, our
Ga-o-ya-geh." So did they return to the Father but they ever watch over us for we are
their children and because they were, we are.
Such is the Indian's Genesis, and though briefly told, there will be few who cannot
see in it a wonderful symbolism and a real recognition of man's divine origin. The last
great test of the Good Minded, we observe, is not alone to overcome earth and water
and fire and air, which are material, but to banish evil and all its distorsions.
By a series of religious tales, such as this, the Iroquois were taught the great essentials
of moral life and a recognition of man's relation to his Creator. The lessons of these
unwritten gospels teach Fortitude, Foyalty, Patriotism, Tolerance, Fraternity and
The Iroquois was religious in every act of his life, for was not the Creator in all that
he had created? Sin thus became a thing that man could commit against himself,
against his fellows, human and nonhuman, and against the interests of the tribe. It was
not believed that the Creator could be sinned against for he was above an injury by
man. Nor was it possible for a sin to be forgiven for effect always follows action.
What we have done we have done and not even divinity can say it was not done, nor
can the effects be wiped away. For the guilty there was no escape through forgiveness
by the Creator. Sins against self and society must be paid for by restitution in some
The religious ceremonies of the Iroquois were many but the great ceremonies were
those of the seasonal thanksgiving, of which there were six each year. Gratitude to the
Creator was the underlying principle of the red man's religion. One of the stanzas in
the Thanksgiving rite is:
For all that He has Created and should offer thanks,
For all the things from below up to 'himself in the sky-world,
We who are here gathered in assembly thank our Creator -
Yea, all his creatures who are living here in this earth- world.
Most of the members of the various Iroquois tribes - the Seneca, the Cayuga, the
Onondaga, the Oneida and the Mohawk - are now Christians, living as white men do.
But so great a hold have the old rites and religion of their ancestors upon some that
the old beliefs still hold among a considerable portion of the Onondages and Senecas
in New York State and Canada.
The Senecas of the old belief hold their religious rites in their Long Houses, the
Temples of their Faith. Here the honest student may observe these rites and determine
whether a people whose religious heritage is what we have described may be called
"pagan" or not. Is there not something racially heroic in this stand of the Senecas to
preserve that which is distinctive of their people? Yet, slowly, but surely, the old life
is fading and in time it will all be gone. The Senecas will have succumbed to the heat
of the melting pot.
What you have read in the pages that have been written was told to a great Mason,
long before he made his journey to the land of the Senecas and witnessed their
ceremonies. The Senecas called him Ho-doinjai-ey, the Holder of the Earth, and they
invited Hodoin-jai-ey to come as a novitiate to the Lodge of the Ancient Guards of
the Mystic Potence. Two other friends of the Senecas had been invited, Ho-skwisa-oh
and Ga-jee-wa, thus forming the mystic triangle.
RED HAND, THE BROTHER-FRIEND
The candidates were told to listen. The legend of the Ancient Guards was told. The
complete relation would make a lengthy document, though I am not sure that you
would find it a marvelous tale.
Red Hand was a young chief whose life was blameless for he was Ho-ya-di-wa-doh.
He had received certain mysterious knowledge that made the covetous envy him, but
so brave and kind was Red Hand that he was admired and loved by men and warriors.
Red Hand had a place where he spoke to the Great Mystery, and because the Great
Mystery spoke to him he was kind to every brother of the earth - every tree, every
rock, every animal. He fed the hungry birds in winter time. When the wolves were
hungry he gave them meat; when the deer were hungry he gave them grass and moss.
The children loved him because he gave them trinkets; the old people were grateful to
him because he knew of oils that cured their lameness: the warriors admired him
because he had power to lead them against the enemy that sought to destroy them.
Down to the south country in the valley of the Ohio, went a war party to punish the
foe. The Leader went apart to seek the chief of the enemy and while he stood alone a
poisoned arrow struck him and he fell. Then the assassin who rushed upon him
demanded the secret of his power but he would not give it and so the enemy lifted his
tomahawk and scalped our Leader, taking the scalp away in triumph to be dried over
the lodge poles where the smoke issues forth.
A wolf lifted his nose and smelled blood. He howled to bring the pack and followed
the scent to the body of a man. He looked and saw that it was Brother Friend whom
he knew as Red Hand. He called in a different note and there came all the chiefs of
the animals and even the chiefs of all the great plants and trees. They looked at the
body of their friend. Then they held a council as to how he should be revived. "We
will give the tip of our hearts and the spark from our brains," they said. Then they
sent for the scalp which the Dew Eagle brought, making it again alive by sprinkling it
from the pool of dew that rests on his back. It was placed on the crown of Red Hand's
head and grew fast.
One by one the greatest of created things gave up the vital parts of their beings, the
tips of their hearts and the hearts of their brains. For a brother is not a friend if he will
not give his life for the Brother Friend who has befriended him in great emergency.
When the life sparks were reduced to dust, so small a quantity was there that all
together there was only enough to fill an acom cup. Then the other chiefs of the
animals and trees and plants and birds gathered around while the wolf took a cup of
bark and dipping it with the current of a spring dropped into the water three tiny
grains of the dust of life. This water of life was poured into the mouth of Red Hand
and he moved. A compress of the water healed his wounds. Then the chosen hand
commenced to chant the ritual of the Ancient Guardians of the Mystic Potence.
During the night of blackness they sang, reciting the life and adventures of Red Hand.
He awoke but lay still with his eyes shut. He listened and learned the song. The wings
of the eagles lifted him and bore him to a great waterfall. He heard the rushing of
strong waters thundering down upon the craigs below. The whipporwill called and a
light floated over the darkness.
Then the circle clustered closer and the brother who is the Bear touched the breast of
Red Hand. All stood erect. The Bear grasped the hand of the Leader who was to be
raised; though slain the Bear grasped his hand and by a strong grip raised Red Hand
to his feet. All was darkness, but Red Hand lived. *****
The Ancient Guards called, each with his own peculiar cry. Red Hand recognized his
Yiewanoh, who has passed through the initiation of the Ancient Guards, tells us the
story of Red Hand.
It is a night of darkness impenetrable. There is no sound save the waterfall and the
river. In the forest the Leader, patient and listening, is waiting for the sign promised
him. Will it be given ? Yes, for the Birds and Beasts do not lie!
THE PROMISE OF POWER
The Leader, who is Red Hand, trusts and waits until a strong voice from the darkness
"Hast thou cleansed thyself from human guilt and impurity ?"
“I have,” Red Hand replied.
"Hast thou ill will toward any of thy fellow creatures ?"
"I have not."
"Wilt thou trust and obey us, keeping thyself always chaste and valorous ?"
"Wilt thou hold this power with which we endow thee for shine own chosen company
"Wilt thou endure death or torture in its cause?"
"Wilt thou vow this secret never to be revealed save at thy death hour ?"
"Thy death hour will be revealed to thee; thou wilt be allowed to choose thy
successor, and at the end of thy journey thou wilt be rewarded for faith and
There was a rushing of winds and the sound of hurrying creatures was heard. The
song was renewed and then a winged light appeared. The voices were bidding him
So sings the whippoorwill, "Follow me, follow me."
So replies the Chief to him, "Yes, I will follow thee." "See, the night is darkening, the
shadows are hiding, no light to follow now," so sings the waterfall.
Down the deep abyss went Red Hand, following his unseen guide. He felt the spray
of the waterfall and then up he climbed until he knew he was ascending a mountain.
The dawn light appeared and he went on and on until when the sun was high he found
the flat summit of the mountain.
There in the circle of an altar was a wild maize plant. At its roots was the box holding
the Mystic Potence that restores men to life and heals wounds.
A white flint knife lay at the roots of the maize plant and a voice called, "Slash into
the stalk of the maize!"
Our Leader cut the stalk and blood flowed from the wound. Then again a voice said,
"Touch the wound with the potence." This he did and the wound immediately healed.
The voice sounded again, saying:
"Guard well this Mystic Potence for while ye have it thy people shall endure. When it
is gone they shall be no more. Go and found an order that shall know all this wisdom
and preserve in the bonds of faithful brotherhood the mysteries, the chants and the
will to perform the task of spreading the knowledge of the kinship of all created
Da neho enyayehak.
OUT OF THE DARKNESS
The Order has been founded, and though many centuries have passed by, the faithful
Fraternity still remains. In the ritual the members impersonate the brother-friends who
of their lives. In the mystic square in the darkness we hear their voices. The call of the
birds is heard and the shrill call of the Guide Bird comes toward morning to herald
the promise of day. The waters thunder with deafening sound - and so deeply do these
sounds imbed themselves into the memory of the ears that it is days before they are
During the intervals of the night at three periods the lights appear and the brothers
refresh themselves with berry juice mixed with maple sugar. The sacred incense of
the O-yan-kwa is burned. The altars are covered when the light appears.
The morning song comes at last with the calling of great flocks of crows. Then
appears the boar's head or perhaps that of a bear, steaming with the fragrant soup of
the maize. There is a ceremonial partaking of the feast and then the O-noh-kwa is
distributed. It is yet just before dawn and the company has adjourned. The session has
been from the beginning of total darkness until its end.
The lodge of Neh Ho-noh-chee-noh-ga has been closed; the Ancient Guards of the
Mystic Potence gather up their mystery bundles that hold the sacred Ni-ga-ni-gaa-ah.
* * * It is still night though the Ga-no-dah * * * has been ended.
We wait in the darkness. Come all ye who listen!
Help us in our darkness journey, now no sun is shining;
Now no star is glowing. Come show us the pathway!
The night is not friendly; she closes her eyelids;
The moon has forgot us; we wait in the darkness,
"Follow me, follow me," so sings the whipporwill.
"Yes, I am following," so the Chief answers him!
DA-NE-HOH. WHAT HAS HAPPENED HAS HAPPENED
A tall bronze-skinned guide led the way over an ice-rutted road. The journey from the
mysterious East had commenced. Following the Guide in single file were four, and
there were four. It was the land of the Senecas, those most powerful confederates of
the Six Nations of the Iroquois. To this land in the Valley of the Cattaraugus had
journeyed the Commander-in-Chief of Buffalo Consistory and three other members
of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Masonry, and now they were on their way
back to the city that rises where the ancient Seneca town of Do-sho-we once had its
site. These pale-faced members of the race that came and possessed the red man’s
land had been adopted brothers and initiated into the highest rites of the Senecas.
Little has been told; the door has only been held ajar the slightest space and no secrets
have been revealed. There were feather wands and deer skins, but no purple robes or
crowns. Yet, who shall say that the Senecas have not the thread of the legend of
Osiris or that they have not an inherent Freemasonry?
— o —
Great Men Who Were Masons
By Bro. GEORGE W. BAIRD, P. G. M., District of Columbia
FREDERICKDESMONS was President of the Grand Orient of France for many
years. Though a Protestant minister he was respected by the French public and loved
by members of the Fraternity. He was born at Brignon, Province of Gard, in 1832;
and died in Paris, 1910. He was always a consistent member of the Protestant
Episcopal Church in which he had an ever increasing following. Of Freemasonry he
believed that it had for its principal purpose the linking together of men of every
nation, sect and opinion, making them brothers instead of foreigners. To be a Mason
in France, having in mind the savage massacre of the Huguenots and the mobbing of
the very funeral of Voltaire, and knowing that the mantles of those inquisitors have
fallen on others equally fanatic, requires some courage; the Mason, the Protestant,
and the Jew are alike tolerated but always in danger.
Desmons' biographers mention his return to his native country after having completed
his education and of his life long devotion to his church; from this one may infer that
he was educated abroad, a fact that may account for his great breadth of mind.
He was initiated in the lodge at Nimes in 1860, but later formed a lodge nearby,
where his church was situated, at Saint-Genies-Mal-Gloires; he was Worshipful
Master of this lodge, named Le Progres, from 1870 to 1888, a period of eighteen
years. In 1873 he was elected to membership in the Supreme Council and served
therein until his death in 1910. The Supreme Council elected him President -
equivalent to our Sovereign Grand Commander; in this office he closely resembled
our own great Albert Pike in his loyalty, philosophy, philology and wisdom. The
daily papers now and then had their little flings at les freres trots points (as they called
the Masons), but no aspersion was ever aimed at Bro. Desmons.
It is hardly possible to form a correct idea of a people or nation unless one has been
there. A sailor will tell you it is impossible to know a man until you have sailed with
him. The great aim of Bro. Desmons was evidently to make it possible for the better
men of France to get together. The better men and scholars of France are already
Masons or wish to be. Disgusted with the sorcery and superstition everywhere about
them, they naturally gravitate toward men of like feeling, but they are not unanimous
on matters of creed. Many, if not all of them, have learned to thinly of the Bible as a
book of creeds; we know from our experience with fanatics and politicians how fixed
a man is when he has once made up his mind on suet; a subject. Bro. Desmons was
always happy in his efforts at reconciling differences and the writer has al ways
believed that this was the origin of the famous modification of the Constitutions of
the Grand Orient, which were adopted Sept. 14, 1877, and which deleted the
requirement for belief in Deity. This was really a return to the Constitutions of Dr.
Anderson adopted by the Grand Lodge of England in 1723, which by no means exact
some things we are nor very insistent on.
The purpose of the obligation is to bind the postulant, not to convert or prevent him.
The British still obligate a Mussulman on the Koran. We are careful that the postulant
expresses a belief in Deity, lest he may not regard his obligation, but after all we take
his unsupported word that he believes in God. The Grand Orient permits the Bible in
an of its lodges that want it; it permits the Book of the Law and the testimony of any
country or municipality to be used in administering the obligation, where it is
believed to be the most binding on the initiate.
I believe that the rupture between the American Grand Lodges and the Grand Orient
of France first arose over the Grand Orient's invasion of jurisdiction in Louisiana; but
in my own Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia, in 1878, P.G.M. Isaac Johnson
introduced the following resolution, which was adopted:
"Resolved, that the action of the Grand Orient of France, in ignoring the foundation
principle of Masonry - that of a firm belief in God and in the immortality of the soul -
meets the unqualified disapproval of this Grand Lodge.”
— o —
A Review of Cryptic Masonry
By Bro. GEORGE W. WARVELLE, P.G.M., Illinois
(Concluded from last month)
WHATEVER may have been the original form of Cryptic degrees it is certain that
they were not preserved as they came from the hands of their founders, and in their
dissemination by the self appointed chiefs who controlled them they soon assumed a
bewildering variety of phases in the method of organization, order of arrangement and
ritualistic expression. As time wore on these features became more pronounced. In
some jurisdictions the scale was increased by adding the Super-Excellent Degree; in
some it was expressly rejected, and in others it was unknown. There was no
uniformity in the order of conferring the two recognized degrees. In some states, the
Select was the first of the series, in others the last, and while the general principles
which give distinctive character to the rite were probably the same in all jurisdictions,
yet in many there was a commingling of legend and incident. The salient features of
one degree were often transferred to the other and that which to us would seem to be
inseparably connected with the Select was not infrequently to be found in the Royal
Degree and vice versa. In the names, titles and number of officers, there was also a
great diversity while in the smaller details the same conditions prevailed in a still
more aggravated form. Added to all this was the unsettled and vexed question of the
right of capitular domination which ever since the organization of the first councils
had continued to assert itself. Out of these facts grew these assemblies which are
popularly known as
It was generally conceded that the condition of affairs as just related, called for some
action calculated to secure substantial uniformity in the number, arrangement and
ritual of the degrees as well as in the organization of the bodies, both Grand and
constituent, and as early as 1848 Companion A. G. Mackey proposed that a
convention be held to make an amicable settlement of the disputed questions involved
in the conflict of jurisdiction between councils and chapters and to determine upon a
uniform method of conferring the degrees. An attempt was made to have this
convention held at Boston in 1 850 during the convocation of the General Grand
Chapter, but it does not appear that sufficient interest in the subject could be created
at that time to insure an attendance and no call was issued. With this exception,
however, no one seemed prepared with a remedy, and so matters remained until 1867.
At this time measures were initiated looking toward a solution of the difficulty by a
suggestion that at the Triennial Session of the Grand Encampment of Knights
Templar to be held in the city of St. Louis the following year the Grand Councils
should insure the attendance of some of their best workman for the mutual
consultation and interchange of ideas.
GENERAL GRAND COUNCIL NOT CONTEMPLATED
The project was favorably received and the Grand Council of Maine formally
crystallized the suggestion by making it a resolution addressed to the other Grand
Councils of the country. It is further worthy of note in this connection that the
resolution, in express and unmistakable terms, disclaimed "any intention or desire of
forming, or seeking to form, a General Grand Council of the United States," yet this
was the germ from whence the present General Grand Council was evolved. But
nothing practical came of this resolution as the proposed convention did not
materialize and the "best workman," if present at St. Louis, probably found more
congenial employment in other avenues of labor. The project was kept alive,
however, and four years later, through the joint efforts of the Grand Councils of
Maine and Massachusetts a convention was held at the city of New York at which
fourteen Grand Jurisdictions were represented, Illinois among the number. The
business of this convention was devoted mainly to a revision of nomenclature and the
arrangement and order of the degrees. The results were highly gratifying to all
concerned, but owing to differences of opinion in reference to some of the matters
presented, to settle which would require more time than the convention could
command, it was deemed advisable to remit same to a committee upon which
members of Grand Councils not represented should also be appointed. This
necessarily involved an adjourned session and so the convention took a recess for one
year. The convention met, pursuant to adjournment, at the same place in June, 1873,
Illinois being again represented. But little of a practical nature was accomplished at
this meeting, other than to confirm the actions of the year previous, and after the
appointment of a committee to memorialize the Grand Encampment on the subject of
"prerequisition," the convention again adjourned to meet in New Orleans the next
year. It is also worthy of note in this connection that at this meeting a resolution was
adopted reciting "That in the judgment of this convention it is expedient and proper to
form a General Grand Council of the United States," and in view of our present
relations with the body now bearing that name, possibly the knowledge of the fact
that the mover of this resolution was the delegate from Illinois may not be without
interest to you. On Nov. 30,1874, the convention again assembled at New Orleans but
the only question of moment which was presented was the propriety of the immediate
organization of a General Grand Body. A committee was appointed to prepare a
provisional constitution, which was to be submitted to the Grand Councils for
approval, but notwithstanding the committee seem to have reported back such an
instrument no action was taken upon it. Pending the report it was resolved that the
"present officers" continued and when the constitution should have been ratified by
two-thirds of the Grand Councils they shall call a meeting for the organization of a
new body. The convention then adjourned to meet at Buffalo three years later. The
convention did meet, as per adjournment, Aug. 20, 1877, but the session was devoid
of interest. Nothing seems to have been done with respect to the main questions
presented to the New Orleans meeting three years previous and the provisional
constitution was not even alluded to. After passing the usual resolution to again
memorialize the Grand Encampment, the convention adjourned without day but
subject to the call of the President.
There can be no doubt but that, had it not been for a subsequent remarkable
convulsion of the Cryptic world, the premonitory symptoms of which were then
visible, this would have been the last session of the convention, and the project of a
General Grand Council would never have advanced to any higher stage of
development than it assumed at the New Orleans meeting. The practical work of the
convention was fully accomplished at its sessions in New York, in 1872-3. These
assemblies seem to have been of the highest importance, and were productive of
incalculable benefit. In them was done all that was originally contemplated, and to the
men who promoted and conducted them the Craft are under a lasting debt of
gratitude. Particularly is this true of Bro. Josiah H. Drummond, of Maine, whose
genius inspired and whose will directed the effective deliberations of the convention.
But all that followed was barren. With no well defined policy, the convention
extended, or attempted to extend, its own existence by adjournments. Its "delegates"
were not usually the same at its different sessions, and few, if any, who attended were
accredited as such. It succeeded in dragging its slow length over a period of ten years,
and finally, by an act, the full legality of which is not without question, culminated in
the formation of a General Supervisory Body of doubtful utility and powers. To
understand the motives which actuated the founders of the General Grand Council, as
well as the incentives to such action, it will be necessary to hastily review the works
which were transpiring in the Crypt during the period covered by the convention's
sessions, and particularly of the movement now known in Cryptic history as
Through a variety of causes, real and fanciful. Cryptic Masonry, for a number of
years succeeding the close of the civil war, was in that condition generally described
as "languishing." Having no showy uniforms or military gewgaws to attract the
heedless, its growth, as compared with the Chivalric Orders, was slow; the aspirants
for enrollment as imitation soldiers passed it by with scorn, and those who had
entered it simply through desire to possess "high degrees" began to forsake it for its
more brilliant rival, then rapidly rising to the flood-tide of its popularity. It had
nothing to offer but "Masonry," and that is what a vast multitude of "Masons" have
very little use for. Those who remained mistook this process of purification for
dissolution, and because they erroneously supposed that our success lay in numerical
accessions and our prosperity in treasury balances, they became despondent, and out
of their blind despair evolved the Mississippi Plan. This consisted simply of a
surrender of the degrees to the Royal Arch Chapter, and while the project had often
been discussed and, indeed, practically effected in Virginia under a mistake of fact,
yet, as Mississippi was the first to adopt it as a measure of expediency, it has
generally been alluded to as a line of policy peculiar to that jurisdiction. By the terms
of the surrender, each Royal Arch Chapter was thereafter authorized to open "within
its bosom" and under its charter, as a chapter of Royal Arch Masons, a Council of
Royal and Select Masters, and all who thereafter obtained the Royal Arch were to
receive the Cryptic Degrees, if they so desired, without further fee. It was contended
by the promoters of the plan that this course was essential to the preservation of the
degrees in their jurisdiction, and while other motives have been charged, reflecting to
some extent upon the integrity of the men who consummated the deal, I am satisfied
that it was made with honesty of heart and sincerity of purpose.
The effect of the action of Mississippi was immediately discernable in the other states
and a spirited contest ensued. In many localities the preponderating sentiment favored
its adoption, and this led to what is now known as
It is difficult, at this time, for those who have entered the Secret Vault since the
abandonment of the "Mississippi Plan" to fully comprehend the motives which
induced its adoption and even of those of us who were present and participated in the
work can find but little justification or excuse for the extraordinary course which was
then pursued. I speak now only for Illinois. Whatever conditions may have prevailed
elsewhere I do not know and possibly in other jurisdictions the "merger" may have
been more defensible than with us. But however this may be the action of Mississippi
seemed to be infectious and was speedily followed in Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky,
Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, Wisconsin and our own jurisdiction, while
measures looking ultimately to the same end were inaugurated in California and
Scarcely any two of the merging jurisdictions adopted in all respects the same
procedure, although the ultimate object to be attained was everywhere the same, but,
as a general similitude pervaded all of the methods employed, a recital of the plan
pursued in Illinois, will, perhaps, furnish a fair idea of the salient features of the
movement as it existed in other states.
The year 1877 had witnessed a marked depression in Masonic circles which had been
felt perhaps more severely in the council than elsewhere. Added to this was the
further fact that a national delegation, including representatives from Illinois, which
attempted to present the question of prerequisition to the Grand Encampment at its
session at Cleveland in that year had been repulsed with freezing "courtesy."
Thereupon the leaders became discouraged; Mississippi's act had just been
accomplished; the plan seemed feasible and with little or no time for serious
consideration measures were introduced at an Annual Assembly looking toward a
formal cession to the Grand Chapter of the constitutional right to confer the degrees.
In pursuance of this line of policy overtures were made to and received by the Grand
Chapter which resulted in the appointment of a joint commission by both bodies to
mature and report a detailed plan for the consummation of such union. The committee
met, deliberated and finally reported the result of the conference and the report, which
was formally adopted by both bodies, became, in effect, the concordat which affected
the transfer of legal authority over the degrees. It provided that each Royal Arch
Chapter should open a Council of Royal and Select Masters and confer the degrees
subsequent to the Royal Arch; that the officers of the chapter should hold
corresponding rank in the council and that all Royal Arch Masons at the date of
ratification should be entitled to receive the degrees without fee. It also provided, on
the part of the Grand Chapter, that the officers of all chapters should qualify
themselves in the work without delay and that the Grand High Priest, as the custodian
of the ritual, should, as soon as practicable, take the necessary steps to carry out the
The practical effect of the treaty was that of a dispensation from the Grand Council to
the constituents of the Grand Chapter to open Councils of Royal and Select Masters
and confer the degrees, and while our course in this respect has been severely
criticized in some quarters, its legality cannot be seriously questioned. It will be
observed that the Grand Council never dissolved, nor did it surrender any of its
powers in other particulars. It met regularly every year in Annual Assembly; elected
its own officers, all of whom were members of some one of its constituent Councils,
and retained the same authority over its said constituents as before the "merger." The
Councils in the meantime remained as they were; no charters were surrendered, and
no degrees were conferred; no dues were collected and no Grand Council taxes were
paid. And so matters continued for five years, during which period the advocates of
the "Mississippi plan" had ample opportunity to study its theory and observe its
practice. The results were not satisfactory, and in 1882 a return was had to the old
Without questioning the motives of those who advised or aided the consummation of
the Mississippi plan, it may nevertheless be said that its influence was pernicious. Its
logical effect was the disintegration of the Cryptic system and the reduction of the
liturgies of the Council to the position of mere "side degrees" of the Chapter. In this
jurisdiction they certainly assumed that position. In many Chapters they were never
conferred; in others only at infrequent intervals. In some of the "merging"
jurisdictions I am informed they were almost lost sight of, and had the movement
attained such force as to carry all of the states, it is fair to presume that like all other
side degrees, they would in time have fallen into complete disuse and finally have
been lost. But fortunately the project met with vigorous opposition in many states
which had a reassuring effect upon some of the weaker jurisdictions, while to still
further stem the tide a new factor was evolved known as the
GENERAL GRAND COUNCIL
As I have stated, when the convention which met at Buffalo, in 1877, concluded its
apparently purposeless session, it adjourned to meet at the call of the chairman. Very
soon thereafter the Grand Council of Mississippi surrendered its degrees and
dissolved its organization. Other states rapidly followed the precedent established by
Mississippi, while still others held the project hinder serious consideration. This was
the condition of affairs at the beginning of the year 1880, when the Grand Council of
Minnesota formally requested the chairman, Bro. J. H. Drummond, to call a meeting
of the convention. In response, thereto, a call was issued for a meeting to be held at
Detroit Aug. 23, 1880, for the purpose of consultation and advisory action, and
pursuant to such call, a meeting was held, in which eighteen Grand Councils are said
to have been represented. A protest against any usurpation of Cryptic prerogatives by
the General Grand Chapter or any of its constituents was adopted, and all persons
receiving their degrees under such auspices were declared to be clandestine. The
advisability of forming a General Grand Council was then affirmed; a constitution
was adopted and provisional officers elected, all to be subject to the approval of and
ratification by the Grand Councils of the country, "or of a majority of them." The
convention then adjourned, subject to the call of the Provisional Grand Master. On
March 1, 1881, a proclamation was issued by the Provisional Grand Master (Bro.
Drummond) reciting a ratification of the constitution by nine Grand Councils, and
declaring the new organization regularly formed and duly existing "as the governing
body of the Rite in the United States." Since then it has continued to assert a mild,
and, I am free to say, innocuous existence. It meets regularly every three years and
elects officers. It also publishes its Proceedings which consist mainly of the record of
such elections. While it accomplishes but little in the way of tangible results, I am
unable to find that it is productive of any very serious harm, and were it not that it
assumes to be "the governing body of the Rite in the United States," I should not be
inclined to find any fault with either its organization or methods.
But, while the General Grand Council now exercises no higher functions than to
furnish a few more high-sounding, but empty, titles, I nevertheless believe that its
organization was productive of a most salutary and beneficial effect upon the entire
Cryptic system of the country. It brought together the leading spirits of the nation,
who were struggling against disintegration, unifying their efforts and directing their
energies, and to no small extent it served to stem the tide of dissolution which then
threatened to engulf the Rite. That the General Grand Council "saved the Rite," as has
been repeatedly stated by its adherents and supporters, I most emphatically deny, but
do believe, and here cheerfully testify to my belief, that the movement worked
incalculable good at the time. I further believe that the Cryptic world is under a
lasting debt of gratitude to the men who directed and controlled the movement, and
particularly to Josiah H. Drummond, of Maine; George W. Cooley, of Minnesota;
George J. Pinckard, of Louisiana, and George M. Osgoodby, of New York. Their
efforts have certainly been conductive of lasting benefit to the Rite, and history will
do full justice to their memory.
Like a slow awakening from unpleasant dreams the merging jurisdictions gradually
began to realize the mistake they had committed. The very agencies which had been
relied upon to preserve and perpetuate the Degrees were fast causing their
destruction; the work of the Chapters was repudiated by the non-merging states, while
the fact of continued existence of Councils and Grand Councils was an evidence that
the Rite still possessed vitality and strength. Then came the period of
By the year 1880 a majority of the Grand Councils and Grand Chapters who had
formerly thought that the separation of the two systems was not only unnecessary but
operated as well to the detriment of both, had begun to revise their opinions. The
dangers resulting from the multiplication of Grand bodies was found to be far less of
an evil than was first supposed, while the fiction of the preservation of the degrees by
capitular supervision had been abundantly demonstrated. Thenceforward there was a
growing disposition on the part of both Chapters and Councils to terminate the
arrangement. In our own state this was easily effected, as the Grand Council had
never abandoned its organization nor had any of its constituents surrendered their
charters. A simple agreement to dissolve the compact by the Grand Chapter and
Council and the issuance of an edict by the Grand Council to its constituents were the
only steps necessary. In other jurisdictions more serious conditions prevailed and the
work of rehabilitation was accomplished, in some instances, in a manner not wholly
above criticism. During the years 1880-83 most of the "merging" jurisdictions
resumed control of the degrees, and with the single exception of Iowa, all have now
returned to the old ways.
From the year 1880 until the present time there has been a steady, constant and visible
improvement and the tendency is still onward and upward. Indifference and apathy
have given way to interest and zeal, a more intelligent appreciation of the character
and scope of the degrees themselves, after years of uncertainty and doubt, have at
length secured a long denied recognition as integral parts of the American Masonic
— o —
AN APRON LECTURE FOR THE SELECT MASTER DEGREE
By BRO. PERCY EDGAR BROWN, Custodian of the Work, Grand Council, R. & S.
MY companion, I now present you with the apron of the Select Master. It is white in
color, like the lambskin or white leather apron which you received when you were
made a Mason, symbolizing that purity of life which should be your constant aim and
that uprightness and integrity which should ever attend your steps, if you are to attain
to the highest achievements.
It emphasizes the feet that only by right living will that secret vault which you are
erecting within yourself become a proper place to deposit Divine Truth. Only thus can
you dwell with God and God with you, and only thus can you hope to receive the
reward of the righteous, the "Well done, good and faithful servant" of the Supreme
Master of the Universe.
But this apron is bordered with purple, indicating the honor which has befell
conferred upon you by selecting you to receive this degree,' Purple has ever been the
color worn by kings and rulers and it represents therefore the highest rank attainable
in worldly affairs. As a Select Master, you have attained the highest rank possible in
ancient Masonry. The purple of kings also indicates a power to rule. So too the purple
of the Select Master represents a power to rule - not over temporal kingdoms, but
over the kingdom of molar own life. The privilege accorded you in admitting you to
this degree has enabled you to advance further in your search for Masonic light and
the various lessons which have been inculcated have shown you how, through Divine
guidance, you may better rule and govern the empire of yourself.
But those who wear the purple must not only rule well their own lives, they must also
serve their fellow men. As good kings must always make the welfare of their subjects
their first consideration, so must you, as a Select Master, devote yourself to the
interests of your companions. By your increased knowledge and the greater
opportunities afforded you, through your admission to this degree, you are better
fitted to perform your whole duty to your brethren and to labor for all mankind.
Let this apron, then, ever be to you a symbol of pure heart and a power to rule your
life and conduct, through the blessings and guidance of the secrets of Divine Truth,
safely deposited in the hidden vault of your inner consciousness, so that you may
walk with God through a long and useful life and finally secure eternal and ineffable
happiness in the world to come.
Let it also be a constant reminder to you of that duty incumbent upon every worthy
Select Master, that he shall serve God, aid, comfort and elevate his companions and
do all in his power to be of service to his fellow men and to humanity.
Finally, my companion, remember that you should strive in season and out of season
to attain to the character of a true Select Master.
Keep this goal ever before you - not only while you wear this apron within the narrow
confines of the lodge room but while you go about the duties of your daily life.
Remember too that
"This goal in sight, tho' ne'er attained
If noble effort is maintained,
Will make your life one long sweet song;
Eternal joys, for you, prolong."
— o —
Masonic Journalism of the Long Ago
By Bro. JOSEPH E. MORCOMBE, Associate Editor, California
Bro. Morcombe is a member of Educator Lodge, No. 554, San Francisco, Cal., Rabbi
Chapter, No. 103, R. A. M. Storm Lake, Iowa, Maple Valley Council, No. 25, R. & S.
M., Rose Croix Commandery, No. 38, K. T., Sac City, Iowa, and Abu Bekr Temple,
A.A.O.N.M.S., Sioux City, Iowa. See in the Editorial Department, this issue, "A
IT might be interesting to know just when the first periodical devoted to the Craft
made its appearance. To ascertain the subjects considered worthy of record would
reveal much as to the inner workings of Masonry beyond anything preserved in
formal documents. The inquirer of the future, having desire to know the conditions of
the institution of our time, will be at no loss, thanks to the number of journals now
published. These cover the entire country. Some essay the national field and deal only
with the larger questions, while others confine themselves to local affairs and the
jurisdictional happenings. The older papers and magazines of Masonry are few, and
where preserved they are rarities.
Through the kindness of a correspondent this writer has before him a volume of the
Scientific Magazine and Freemason's Repository for 1798. This periodical was an
ambitious affair, when compared with British publications of the time, being about
equal, in form, size and contents, with the contemporary Land on Magazine and the
Gentleman's Magazine, with just a flavor of Masonry added. There are the usual
comments on affairs of the time, domestic and foreign, with long winded essays,
somewhat stilted and labored, as was the style of the period. The Masonic department
for the year in question found subject matter in the anti-Craft books of Professor
Robison and the Abbe Barruel - books that we know now as curiosities, without
critical value and only serving to reveal the intense prejudices and slanderous moods
of the time. There is a department of book reviews, commending or condemning
newly published volumes that are unknown today even to the most mole-like of
researchers. Poetry had its place also - several pages each month of most atrocious
verse, though perhaps no worse than the vers libre so prominently displayed in some
of our cherished publications. "Public Amusements" are handled in such wise as to
indicate that the old brethren were devotees of the play houses. "Parliamentary
Proceedings" take up much space, as may be well imagined when the year 1798 is
remembered for the scare of invasion by the French which agitated all England, and
when Bonaparte was the arbiter of Europe. "The Monthly Chronicle" gathers an odd
lot of matters, social happenings, perils by fire and flood, scientific guesses and
inventions, all heaped together, and having now a curious interest because of the
childlike faith, or rather credulity, so often shown.
In a foreword to the completed volume the editor speaks of the "present awful crisis,
when nations are in perplexity and individuals in fearful apprehension, and when
every man has a peculiar duty to perform. Ours at present appears to be to preserve
our miscellany from the influence of a party spirit on the one hand, and to advance, so
far as in us lies, the great interests of society, order and virtue on the other. We would
be understood to mean that while this magazine shall continue to be distinguished by
the leading objects which constitute its titles, it shall stand eminently forward in
behalf of the Constitution, under which, happily, we were bom, and under which w e
live." All of which might be tmly echoed by any Masonic editor of the present time,
when viewing the critical conditions of society in this third decade of the twentieth
century. We could do worse than repeat in our own place what this old brother writes
"It is a time that calls for every man to express his undisguised sentiments. Hypocrisy
now would be as one of the deadly sins. Free, therefore, are we to declare that our
Magazine is and shall be solely directed under the influence of this persuasion and
this resolution. 'For our God, our King and our Country' is our declaration at the
commencement of this sixth year of our labors, and we trust that our exertions will
not be found in vain in this most important and interesting cause. Earnestly do we
pray that the Providential Power which pervades and guides the universe may
speedily disperse the raging elements of dissension, and quiet the turbulent spirits of
mankind, that Harmony and Peace may again fix their abode on the earth, and all the
Virtues and the Graces dance in their train!”
The threat of invasion to which reference has already been made was at that time
something well within the range of probability. A whole chapter of accidents, and the
heroism of the British sailors, put a period to the plans of the Corsican conqueror.
Contrary winds interfered, so that temporary command of the narrow sea was denied
the armies gathered about their great rafts. And later one smashing blow after another
delivered by the English fleets caused abandonment of the ambitious scheme. There
were traitors at home to be watched; misguided men who imagined, as now there are
some who look to Moscow for the millennium, that the French Revolution would
surely usher in the new and golden age. At his juncture we are told of Masonic lodges
meeting and resolving that the whole man power of the organization offer itself to the
government to meet the threat from across the channel. Most of these Masonic
volunteers were home bodies, however, and in their resolutions specified the
particular parishes where they were willing to stand guard and meet the invaders or
A FAMOUS BOOK IS REFERRED TO
Almost every Masonic library of worth has in it a copy of Dr. Robison's "Proof of a
Conspiracy," etc. This Edinburgh professor, becoming somewhat unbalanced because
of the excesses of the French Revolution and the subsequent chaos in Europe, looked
about for the cause of such upheaval and became convinced that it was to be found in
the secret meetings and plottings of Continental Masonry. The Scotchman was
somewhat less credulous than the Abbe Barruel, who found plots and Jacobins around
every corner. But both were convinced that Masonry existed to tear down religion and
ordered government, and to let loose atheism and anarchy in the world. The
opponents of Freemasonry have not advanced one step since that time. The same old
slanders have been revamped in our own time by those concerned to make of
Masonry the scapegoat for world troubles. The Craft has again been accused of
stirring the nations to conflict and of plottings to destroy all religion and to loosen the
bonds of ordered society. We can recall the recent utterance of that discredited royal
exile, who from his hiding place in Holland declared that only two institutions have
survived the World War undiminished in strength - the Masonic Fraternity and the
Roman Catholic church - and that the first named of these was still striving to push
humanity over the brink of utter ruin.
But Professor Robison had a new theory of Masonic guile. He averred that it had been
instituted and nourished by the church to further its own purposes, but that it has
turned upon its creator to a vast hurt. One can see in the analysis before us how
Masonry had been regarded in England when the reviewer writes: "The Masonic body
has hitherto had to encounter the general opprobrium that their society is frivolous,
nonsensical and destitute of any consistency. Mr. Robison is the first to give them a
consequence to which they are not entitled, as belonging to an institution formed by
Craft, founded in the deepest motives and capable of effecting the most important
events." Admitting that in some of the assemblies of Continental Masonry the society
may have been turned to evil ends, the writer asks: "Is Masonry herself chargeable
with the follies, with the iniquities and the infidelity of any of her sons; or shall the
institution be held up to general opprobrium because some apostasized Masons have
acted in violation of their principles ?"
Much was made in this volume, and in other writings of the time, that the newer
degrees, termed Masonic and attached to the simplicity of Symbolic Masonry, were
invented and worked to spread atheistical and anarchial doctrines. "To this it may be
replied," says our old-time reviewer, "that the invention of new degrees and orders in
Freemasonry, such as those described by the present adversaries of the Institution, are
in general innovations and are quite opposite to the pure principles of Freemasonry. *
* * Yet I will maintain that in some, at least, of those very degrees and orders which
the professor has reprobated, so far from an anti-religious or leveling principle being
inculcated, the very reverse is maintained, with a degree of strength unknown in the
preparatory steps of the Institution. I pretend not to go farther than the Order
instituted in imitation of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, and in which there is a
more efficient loyalty and more direct Christianity than in all other parts of
Freemasonry." But here is more than enough of attention to an old slander, happily
disproven and long forgotten.
A copper-plate of "Symbolic Masonry," conceived in the style of the time, represents
three beneficient and scantily clad beings wandering through the sky, visiting the
seven planets by turn and applying to these heavenly bodies the square, level and
plumb, by which they discover the seven Virtues and the seven Sciences. Rather
far-fetched allegory, perhaps, according to our way of thinking. But by this
representation we are assured "industry shall not go without its reward. This is
beautifully represented in the appropriate ceremonies of symbolical Masonry. After
much painful labor the indefatigable sojourners discover the great object of their
search. The truth is attained by unwearied seeking. It mocks only the idle and the
At the time of the publication considered Masonic funerals evidently did not occur as
matter of course. We read of a dispensation being procured by the lodge at Maidstone
from the Provincial Grand Master authorizing the interment, with Masonic honors, of
a brother who had fallen from a cliff and was killed. Perhaps because such occasions
were infrequent, this particular Craft ceremony was well attended and the funeral
sermon was "pathetically adapted to the occasion."
"DEFEND THE COUNTRY!"
The perilous position of the country was the theme at all gatherings and cropped up at
Masonic meetings, where the brethren were anxious to show their loyalty. The sums
of money needed to defend the kingdom, and which appalled those responsible for the
government and gave opportunity for a fierce attack by the opposition, seem small
and even trivial to us, who have become accustomed to billions in governmental
budgets. But it was evidently a hard strain for Pitt and his colleagues to raise the few
millions of sterling then needed. There were no bond sales, and there was no
conscription. Reliance was placed upon voluntary aid, whether for men or money. So
we find lodge after lodge declaring it the duty of good citizens to come to the
financial assistance of the nation and advising the brothers to make such contributions
as they could. We are also informed that the responses were most gratifying.
Under guise of "A Brief History of Nonsense" there is slightly hidden a return attack
upon the Catholic church. We are told very frequently by brothers nowadays that it is
something new and regrettable for Masons to concern themselves with the affairs of
that other institution, even if its authorities should slander and attack Masonry. But it
seems that our "ancient brothers" recognized ecclesiasticism in politics as an enemy
to be met. In serio-comic style this history of nonsense follows the fortunes of the
power that swayed a scepter "made up of equal parts of lead and iron, with an
undisturbed dominion over Europe,” until such time as its rule was challenged by
and Erasmus. "Then the records of Nonsense, which had hitherto been deemed
sacred, and to question which was to be guilty of a damnable sin, were exposed to
contempt and sentenced to eternal oblivion. Men began to think and enquire; and the
more they examined the greater was their wonder at the torpid state in which they had
so long remained. Strange indeed was their astonishment at the veneration in which
they had held old rags and rotten skulls, pieces of consecrated wood scapularies,
strings of beads and round wafers; and with the ideas of which they had been
accustomed to associate their hopes of everlasting salvation."
How the chief agents of Nonsense handle their votaries is thus described:
"There are two outlets from the abominable pit. Those who were fortunate enough to
have had money, or friends, obtained elevation from the stinking hole (of purgatory)
to a place of ease and pleasure where all the time was taken up in rapturous
enjoyments and the singing of psalms. But those who had no means to purchase a lift
from this preparatory confinement were certain of being precipitated down a gulph
ten thousand fathoms deep, there to remain for endless ages, with no other liquid than
melted brimstone, no other food than burning ashes, and the pleasant company of a
strange sort of spirits, with horns on their heads, long tails, cloven feet and crooked
talons, with which they took great delight in lacerating and tossing about the poor
beings who fell into their power. Now the chief servants of this power used to
assemble their votaries in large crowds, and exhibit to their terrified view these
comfortable scenes in the most lively colors they could devise, by which means there
was little doubt of getting them to purchase certain -powerful charms, which they had
to dispose of, that would infallibly preserve them from this pleasant place, let their
tempers and actions be what they would."
The history grows tedious, however, as it proceeds to tell of the unloosing of the bulls
by the possessor of the three crowns against all and sundry who dared to question the
right of Nonsense to rule the world. And of course Masons, who are seekers for the
truth, had several of these animals from the papal herd turned upon themselves, with
rueful consequences to those living where Nonsense still preserved its power. But for
the rest the bulls bellowed loud and harmlessly. One can imagine the old brothers
chuckling mightily over this sort of matter such times as they foregathered in the
In place of the page or column of alleged humor that finds place in some of our
modern Masonic journals, this antique Repository of the Craft had a department
under title of "The Collector," where one finds many anecdotes. These were doubtless
regarded as very funny, though their repetition now would hardly raise a smile.
Somewhat coarse in spots, as in the following: "Henry the Fourth of France loved
pleasantry, and willingly allowed it in the companions of his victories. Walking one
day in the environs of Paris, he stopped, and putting his head between his legs, said,
looking at the city: 'Ah, how many cockold's nests!' A courtier, who was near him,
did the same thing, and cried: 'Sire, I see the Louvre!' (the king's palace)."
We read of a Provincial Grand Lodge attending church at Newcastle on Tyne on St.
John's day, two years before the date of publication - there were no efforts to secure
"news beats" in those comfortable days. After the religious services the brethren
returned to “Mrs. Hanzell’s, at the White Hart Inn, where the Grand Feast was spread,
and which was for most of those in attendance the principal feature of the affair."
These old fellows could find plenty of subjects for their formal toasts, and each one
had to be drank in bumpers. Thus we find the list on this occasion: "The King and the
Craft; Virtue, Benevolence and a Good Peace; the Prince of Wales, Grand Master of
Masons of England; Earl Moira, Acting Grand Master of England; The Provincial
Grand Chaplain, and thanks to him for his excellent sermon; The Provincial Grand
Marshal, and thanks to him for conducting the procession; May our Principles Keep
Pace with our Professions! All Worthy Masons; All our Royal Brothers," etc.
It would be hard nowadays to persuade a Masonic editor to publish as a serial the life
of a cardinal. Yet here we have an extended biography of Ximenes, even though that
distinguished prelate loomed large in the affairs of his time some three centuries
before the magazine articles appeared. Not even Cardinals O'Connell and Dougherty
could get in with us, though they are American wearers of the red hat. But Ximenes
fills many pages in this volume, doubtless to the edification of those old-time
There is also a smattering of scientific intelligence, as the title of the periodical would
lead one to suppose. There is an improvement to the steam engine, by which it is
possible to get power equal to two men. Naval guns are made better, so that they can
be operated by five instead of fifteen men. French experiments promised a balloon
from which it would be possible to discharge a shower of fire, this being denominated
an "infernal machine." There is account of a cat with eight legs and four ears, vastly
interesting to contemporary scientists. New comets were being discovered and
astronomers were busy computing the orbits of these wanderers through space. And
lastly, in the section quoted from, the Royal Society was being urged to move for a
universal standard of weights and measures. Some of these things are to us, living in
the full light of science, as trivial. Yet it must be remembered that men were then but
testing their powers; that the puerile inquiries made opened the way to greater things.
And here, to bring this disconnected gathering to an end, is a resolution adopted at a
lodge at Wakefield in Yorkshire, chosen for its matter and manner:
"It is the great and leading characteristic of Free and Accepted Masons, in every
clime, and under every form of government, to be obedient to the powers that are, and
grateful to the laws by which they are protected, that accustomed as they are
everywhere to the study of whatever is most perfect in the sublime science of
architecture, they are led to admire beauty under all its forms and various
appearances; and that we, the inhabitants of this happy isle, do most especially
contemplate, with enthusiastic fondness and admiration, the nice symmetry and
proportion of that glorious structure, the British Constitution, consisting of King,
Lords and Commons.
"That the cause and interest of our most ancient institution are more particularly
maintained by, and have ever been most prosperous under the monarchical form of
government, that this and other weighty reasons and considerations moving us, we do
avow an unfeigned love for the King, our sovereign - the friend and father of his
people - and look upon no sacrifices to be too great, which have for their object the
dignity of his crown the safety of his person, and the stability of our incomparable
constitution and law.
"That we are decidedly amongst the foremost of our patriotic fellow subjects to
approve and adopt any measure that may (by our competent rulers) be thought most
conducive to the general welfare and the prosperity of the state. Most emphatically
and unreservedly, we do desire to be understood as 'hating with a perfect hatred' all
treasonable and revolutionary practices; and do solemnly deprecate that impious and
atheistical system which now desolates the continent of Europe, and which will if it
continues to gain ground, not only disappoint the exalted ends and benevolent
purposes of the Craft, but also do away with the fear and love of the Supreme Being
and root out the moral and social virtues from the hearts and souls of men.
"May the Grand Architect of the Universe preside over this and all other lodges
around the globe! So mote it be!"
Should some brother, having in mind the very troubled situation in the world today,
propose in one of our lodges a series of resolutions covering like ground, he would be
apt to run foul of the ancient prohibition against political matters. It is evident that
these Masons of the late eighteenth century did not consider themselves debarred,
even in their lodges, from considering the state of their own and other countries, and
putting themselves on record on the side of law and order and loyalty. Yet now it is
regarded as out of order to declare for civic righteousness and for devotion to the
principles on which our Government is founded. We may have still something to
learn from these, our Masonic ancestors.
— o —
THE STUDY C LU B
Chapters of Masonic History
By Bro. H. L. HAYWOOD, Editor
PART XIII. VARIOUS GRAND LODGES; FRANCE, GERMANY, ETC.
THE present chapter brings this series of Study Club articles to a close. No attempt
has been made to publish an exhaustive and critical history of the Craft but rather the
purpose has been to prepare such a rapid outline sketch of the more important phases
of the history as beginners might find useful. According to custom the Study Club
will be discontinued during July and August, to be resumed in September with a new
series on the Story of American Freemasonry, unless circumstances make necessary a
change in plans as to the theme. In the chapter of last month brief sketches were given
of Freemasonry in Ireland and Scotland and of two Grand Lodges in England; it is
now in order to treat in like fashion other countries, the first of which to be considered
1. FREEMASONRY IN FRANCE
The earliest protagonists of the Craft in France are almost mythical figures, and move
about in a fog of rumor and conjecture, so that it is exceedingly difficult to find one's
way among them with any assurance of certainty. Conditions were not as favorable to
the Institution as in the United Kingdom; the political state of affairs constantly
interfered with the development of lodges; and the French themselves, with their
Latin minds, did. not have for Craft Masonry the same instinct as their English
brethren. Like all men of their blood they were more passionate and more logical, and
therefore more given to going to extremes; moreover the aristocratic spirit was strong
among them, especially during the eighteenth century, so that many of them were
impatient with the simple Craft ceremonies of the Three Degrees, and they soon set to
work to fabricate one system after another of degrees more congenial to their
Some writers, Bro. Robert I. Clegg among them, believe that as early as 1721 lodges
of a Time Immemorial character, without warrant from England, were organized in
France; Bro. Clegg names one at Mons and one at Dunkirk. But the main stream of
tradition has it that the first lodge was founded at Paris in 1725 by the Earl of
Derwentwater and his fellow Jacobites, who had fled from England upon the fall of
the Stuart dynasty. There is much uncertainty about this. Gould quotes a "German
publication" to the effect that in 1736 the Earl of Derwentwater was chosen Grand
Master by the French lodges to "succeed James Hector Maclean, a previous Grand
Master." Lalande, the astronomer, was responsible for the 1725 account in his
Franche-Maconnerie, published in 1773; Rebold followed Lalande in this, and so did
Dr. Oliver. The Abbe Robin, one of the founders of the Lodge of the Nine Sisters (of
which Voltaire was a member), published in 1776 Researches on the Ancient and
Modern Initiations in which he says that French Masonry originated in 1720. Clavel
says that the first lodge on French soil was Friendship and Fraternity, at Dunkirk,
founded by the Grand Lodge of England, 1721. Hughan, who made patient researches
in this subject, said that the first historical record of the founding of a French lodge
was the one mentioned in Pine's Engraved List for 1734 as having been founded April
3, 1732, and held at the Louis d' Argent in the Rue des Boucheries, Paris.
Whenever, however, and by whomever established the earliest French lodges did not
find smooth sailings, either in the country or among themselves; there was general
lack of agreement and many quarrels. Thory, who was a careful student of
documents, gives one a picture of this in his Historie de la Fondation du Grand
"Freemasonry was then in such a discorded condition that we have no register or
official report of its Assemblies. There did not exist any bodies organized in the
fashion of Grand Lodges, such as were known in England and Scotland. Each lodge
in Paris or in the kingdom was the property of an individual called the Master of the
lodge. He governed the body over which he presided according to his own will and
pleasure. These Masters of lodges were independent of each other. Each body
recognized no other authority than their owner. They granted to all applicants the
power to hold lodges, and thus added new Masters to the old ones. In fact, it may be
said that up to 1743 Freemasonry presented in France under the Grand Masterships of
Derwentwater, Lord Harnouester, and the Duke d'Antin a spectacle of the most
According to Thory the beginnings of the first legal Grand Lodge in France began on
Dec. 11, 1743, when a number of the Masters of lodges met in assembly and elected
the Count of Clermont Grand Master; this body adopted the title, The English Grand
Lodge of France, which in 1756 was changed to the National Grand Lodge of France.
This new body fell into many difficulties at the very beginning. For one thing,
Masters held office for life, and lodges were so organized that each was virtually the
private property of its Master, as quoted above; this made general- supervision of
Craft activities very difficult; for another thing, as a result of Chevalier Ramsay’s
celebrated oration in 1737, new degrees started up on all sides, and this entailed an
endless amount of confusion.
The Count of Clermont, after having lost his interest, appointed as Deputy to act in
his stead in 1744 a certain Baure, who was neglectful of his duties, and during IN
hose regime irregular and spurious Masonry flourished. A more famous Deputy was
one Lacome, a dancing master, appointed in 1761. Upon his accepting office worse
confusion followed until at last affairs were in such a state of anarchy that in 1767 the
government forbade further assemblies of Grand Lodge. By Clermont's death in 1771
Grand Lodge was split in two, with the Lacorne faction making a deal of trouble. The
Duke of Chartres - a name of ill omen in the history of French Masonry - was made
Grand Master, largely through the action of the Lacome faction.
It is impossible in short space to furnish an account of the confusion that existed for a
few years; it is sufficient to say that out of it all the old Grand Lodge became
moribund and on its mins was erected the Grand Orient, a name invented at the time,
apparently, and since used in many lands. The Grand Orient undertook to secure
control of all the "higher degrees." It held its first meeting March 5, 1773, and its
Constitutions were adopted on the following June 24. The original Grand Lodge held
on to existence but fought a losing battle. The Duke of Chartres, its Grand Master,
became also the head of the rival body, the Grand Orient, a thing that tied the hands
of the older Grand Body, so that it grew weaker with each year and at last expired in
After the Revolution had come the Duke of Chartres assumed the name Philippe
Egalite. On May 15, 1793, in an insulting letter to the Grand Orient, he renounced
Masonry altogether. His disreputable career came to a bloody end on the guillotine
during the Terror.
Meanwhile, in 1782, the Grand Orient had organized its Chamber of Degrees upon
the recommendation of which there were added to the original Craft ceremonies the
degrees of Elect Freemason, Scottish Freemason, Knight of the East, and Knight of
the Rose Croix, with a view to bringing under the control of the Grand Orient all
During the Revolution the Craft became somnolent, so that in 1796 only eighteen
lodges were active in the whole of France; but a revival came afterwards, and with it
interest continued to increase in higher degrees. Many of these were brought under
one obedience when, in 1 804, and acting under a Constitution granted by the Mother
Supreme Council, Charleston, S. C., Count de Grasse Tilly organized the Supreme
Council, a Grand Body that has ever since remained independent of the Grand Orient.
In after years there was organized under its auspices a Grand Fodge of France, to
have charge of the Craft degrees.
In 1871 the Grand Orient abolished the office of Grand Master, since which time the
duties of that office have been performed by the President of the Council of the
Order. On Sept. 14, 1877, it took the yet more extraordinary step of amending Artilce
I of the Constitutions of Masonry. The paragraph originally read:
"Freemasonry has for its principles the existence of God, the immortality of the soul,
and the solidarity of mankind."
After a year or so of deliberation, this was at last amended to read:
"WHEREAS, Freemasonry is not a religion, and has therefore no doctrine or dogma
to affirm in its Constitution, the Assembly adopting the Vaeu IX., has decided and
decreed that the second paragraph of Article I. of the Constitution shall be erased, and
that for the words of the said article the following shall be substituted: I. Being an
institution essentially philanthropic, philosophic and progressive, Freemasonry has
for its object, search after truth, study of universal morality, science and arts and the
practice of benevolence. It has for its principles, absolute liberty of conscience and
human solidarity, it excludes no person on account of his belief and its motto is
Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity."
Immediately upon this (in the December following) the United Grand Lodge of
England appointed a committee to consider this innovation; after two months the
committee reported it as having been a departure from all the Landmarks of the Craft,
whereupon England withdrew fraternal recognition; since then the great majority of
Grand Lodges among English speaking peoples have taken the same action.
A new Grand Body, known as The National Grand Lodge, was organized in 1914 to
erect lodges practicing Ancient Craft Masonry on the same principles as those
adhered to by English speaking Grand Bodies; to date it remains small in size and
II. FREEMASONRY IN GERMANY
In his Report on Correspondence made to the Grand Lodge of Alabama at its Annual
Communication in 1922, a volume of 376 pages containing the most comprehensive
account of foreign Grand Bodies published in many years in this country, Bro. Oliver
Day Street gives a list of the various Masonic bodies in Germany as follows:
"1. The Grand Lodge of Hamburg, founded Feb. 11, 1811, with seat at Hamburg.
"2. The Mother Grand Lodge of the Eclectic Union, founded March 27, 1823, with
seat at Frankfort on the Maine.
"3. The Grand National Mother Lodge of the Prussian States, called 'of the Three
Globes,' founded in 1744, with seat at Berlin.
"4. The National Grand Lodge of All German Freemasons, or Grand Lodge of the
Country, or Grand Countries Lodge, founded in 1770, with seat at Berlin.
"5. The Grand Lodge of Prussia, called Royal York of Friendship, founded in 1760,
with seat at Berlin.
"6. The Grand Lodge 'Sun,' or 'Zur Sonne,' founded in 1741, with seat at Bayreuth.
"7. The National Grand Lodge of Saxony, founded in 1811, with seat at Dresden.
"8. The Grand Lodge 'Concord', founded in 1846, with seat at Darmstadt.
"9. The five Independent Lodges, (1) Minerva of the Three Palms, at Leipsic; (2)
Baldwin of the Linden, at Leipsic; (3) Archimedes of the Three Tracing Boards, in
Altenburg; (4) Archimedes of Eternal Union, at Gera; (5) Karl of the Wreath of Rue,
The five independent lodges named by Bro. Street, formed, in 1833, what they called
a Free Association, which functions very much as a Grand Lodge, and is generally
acknowledged as regular.
The existence of so many Grand Bodies in one country immediately suggests that
Freemasonry in Germany has undergone many transformations, a fact that is borne
out by its history. The first German lodge to be constituted was established at
Hamburg, Dec. 6, 1737. In August of the following year it initiated the Crown Prince
of Prussia, who afterwards became Frederick the Great. Frederick in turn established
a private lodge of his own at Rheinsberg, and later permitted the forming of a lodge at
Berlin, Sept. 13, 1740, which took the name "Of the Three Globes." This lodge, after
erecting a number of lodges at other points, transformed itself into a Grand Lodge
under the title Grand Royal Mother Lodge, which in 1772 was changed to Grand
National Mother Lodge, number three in Bro. Street's list.
The National Grand Lodge of all German Freemasons was founded Dec. 27, 1770, by
Johann Wilhelm von Zinnendorf, one of the most arresting and dramatic figures in the
annals of German Masonry. He was made a Mason at Halle, Aug. 10, 1731, and
afterwards joined the Lodge of the Three Globes. When that lodge embraced the Rite
of Strict Observance, Zinnendorf became Master of the Scotch Lodge. He quarreled
with the Rite of Strict Observance, which excommunicated him and which he in turn
condemned. Immediately he secured through a friend of his a copy of the Swedish
rituals and used them as a basis for a new Rite, which he set up in opposition to the
Strict Observance. A sufficient number of Masons followed his lead to enable him on
June 24, 1770, to set up a new Grand Lodge, in which twelve lodges participated. For
seven years this Grand Lodge enjoyed the recognition of the Grand Lodge of
England, and later the protectorship of the King of Prussia. Zinnendorf remained
Grand Master from 1774 until his death in 1782. In spite of all manner of obstacles -
he was denounced by the Grand Lodge of Sweden and became hated by many lodges
in Germany - he had so much zeal and so many of the qualities of leadership that he
was able to triumph over his enemies.
A still greater name in the history of German Masonry is that of Friedrich Ludwig
Schroeder, who was born at Schwerin, Nov. 3, 1744. Schroeder was one of the
greatest actors Germany has even known and possessed of fine character and a
powerful personality. Soon after his initiation in 1774 he established a lodge under
the system of Zinnendorf, but it did not last long. In 1814, when he was seventy years
of age, he became Grand Master of the English Provincial Grand Lodge of Lower
Saxony. This honor came to him as a result of the work he had done in the years just
previous by way of reorganizing the ritual. According to his view, Freemasonry in
Germany had become corrupted by the luxuriant growth of higher and side degrees;
believing that Masonry in its purest form was that which had been developed in
England, he translated a form of the English ritual into German and set up what came
to be known as Schroeder’s Rite, which consisted of only three degrees. This was
adopted by the Provincial Grand Lodge in 1801.
Partly as a result of Schroeder's influence and partly owing to other forces at work,
other Grand Lodges followed suit, so that of the eight Grand Lodges now in
existence, five practice only three degrees. The National Grand Lodge uses ten
degrees; the Grand National Mother Lodge uses seven; the Grand Lodge of Prussia
uses a fourth degree, confined to a select few.
III. OTHER GRAND LODGES
Among the most distinctive of all degree systems is that employed by Sweden and
generally known as the Swedish Rite. The Grand Lodge National of Sweden was
founded in 1759, twenty-four years after the first lodge had been founded at
Stockholm. The Swedish Rite as it now exists was established in 1775, or
thereabouts, and is compounded of Craft Masonry, the Strict Observance, and
Scottish Rite Degrees, with a trace of the influence of Swedenborgianism. Of this the
first three degrees correspond to those practiced in our Blue Lodges; the fourth to
sixth degrees, inclusive, are so much like the Scottish Rite in character that members
of Scottish Rite bodies are permitted to visit; the last four degrees are peculiar to the
The Grand Lodge of Norway was set up as a Grand Lodge independent of Sweden,
Nov. 24, 1891. The Mother Lodge of Norway was founded in 1749 and was in 1818
united with the Grand Lodge of Sweden. The Provincial Grand Lodge of Norway was
founded in 1870, and this, as already stated, became independent in 1891. The
Norway Grand Lodge controls eleven degrees, the first three of which are Entered
Apprentice, Lellowcraft and Master of St. John; the others belong to the Swedish
Freemasonry was established in Denmark at Copenhagen, Nov. 11, 1743, under a
German charter. Lodges were subsequently warranted by the Grand Lodge of
England, and in 1749 Count Laurvig was granted a patent as Provincial Grand Master
by Lord Byron, Grand Master of England. The Grand Lodge of Denmark was
constituted in 1792, at which time Prince Charles became the ruling head of Danish
Lodges. Frederick VII rearranged the Danish degrees according to the Swedish
system when he became Grand Master in 1848.
Freemasonry took root in Italy in 1735. From that time until 1820, when all Masonic
lodges were suppressed, the story of Freemasonry in Italy is one of sudden change
and confusion. Italian Freemasonry revived in the 1 850’s, but since that time, owing
to constant changes in Italian ecclesiastical and political affairs, Italian Masonry has
developed such a variety of forms that it is exceedingly difficult for an American
Mason to find his way amid the maze of conflicting testimony and bewildering facts.
The Masonic movement culminating in the Grand Orient of Italy began in 1859 at
Turin. In 1861 twenty-two lodges assembled at Turin and formed a Grand body,
which, on Jan. 1, 1862, became the Grand Orient of Italy at Turin, recognizing only
three degrees. This Grand Orient came under the influence of higher degrees during
the first decade of its existence; it emerged from this struggle in 1873 when all the
rival ractions united in the present Grand Orient. In 1875 a number of lodges, lead by
Saverio Fera, seceded from the Grand Orient and organized themselves into the
Grand Lodge of Italy for the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. In 1919 the Blue
Lodges adhering to this Supreme Council severed their relations with it and, with its
express consent, became independent of the Scottish Rite. These lodges then held an
assembly and formed themselves into the Most Serene National Italian Grand Lodge.
It exacts of its members a belief in Deity and displays the Bible upon its altars. Of the
two Supreme Councils in Italy, one is connected with the Grand Orient, the other
works with the Serene National Grand Lodge. There is also in existence in Italy the
Grand Lodge of Florence.
Freemasonry in Spain has always existed in a state of considerable confusion. When
Bro. R. F. Gould wrote his History of Freemasonry, he listed five Spanish Grand
bodies. According to Bro. Street's Report, already cited, there are now in existence at
least four Grand bodies, two Spanish Grand Orients at Madrid, Spanish Grand Lodge
at Barcelona, and the Supreme Council of the Spanish Grand Orient.
In Portugal the most important Grand body is the United Lusitanian Grand Orient
founded in 1872. The Grand Orient of the Netherlands was formed in 1757. The
Grand Orient of Belgium dates from 1832. Egypt has a Grand Lodge, organized in
1872. Swiss Freemasonry is under the Grand Lodge "Alpine," formed July 24, 1844.
A Grand Lodge for the Republic of Czecho-Slovakia was formed at Prague under a
patent from the German Grand Lodge "Zur Sonne." Jugoslavia came into possession
of a Grand Lodge, June 9, 1919, under the title "Grand Lodge of the Serbs, Croats and
Slovenes, Jugoslavia," with headquarters at Belgrade. Freemasonry was introduced
into Greece by the Grand Orient of France in 1809. In 1860 a Provincial Grand Lodge
was established in Greece, under the Grand Orient of Italy. The present Grand Orient
of Greece was organized in 1868; the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite July 12,
In Canada each province has an independent Grand Lodge of its own. The Grand
Lodge of Canada (Ontario) was formed in 1855; Nova Scotia, 1866; New Brunswick,
1867; Quebec, 1869; British Columbia, 1871; Prince Edward's Island, 1875;
Manitoba, 1875; Alberta, 1905; Saskatchewan, 1906.
Freemasonry on the continent of Africa is a world in itself, with many Grand Lodges
and Provincial Grand Lodges working under English, Scotch, Irish, French, Italian,
In Central America and South America, Masonry has for the most part been formed
under Scottish Rite influences; it is impossible in a paragraph or two to convey any
impression of the great number of Grand bodies in existence or of the complexity
with which the Craft is there organized.
In Mexico Bro. Street lists some thirty-two Grand bodies. The key to the' history of
Mexican Masonry has been politics and also a certain amount of friction between
Scottish Rite and Craft lodges.
Mackey's Encyclopedia (Revised Edition)
Acta Latomorum, 13, Africa, 34, Antient and Primitive Rite of Masonry, 62; Austria,
86; Belgium, 102; Buhle, 122; Canada, 131; Clermont, Count of, 156, Cologne,
Charter of, 159; Compagnonage, 171, Darmstadt, Grand Lodge of, 197,
Derwentwater 206, Des Etangs, Nicholas Charles, 208, Emperors of the East and
West, 241; Fessler, Ignaz Aurelius, 262; France, 276; Frederick the Great, 279,
French Rite, 285, Germany, 295, Grasse, Tilly, 309; Hamburg, 316; High Degrees,
324; Hund, Baron von, 339; Illuminati of Bavaria, 346; Italy, 358; Jacobins, 359;
Krause, 417; Memphis, Rite of, 479; Mexico, 482; Mizraim, Rite of, 487; Morin,
Stephen, 492, Naples 507, Netherlands, 509, Nova Scotia 509, Ontario, 530, Orient,
53i Orleans, Duke of, 538 Persia, 558 Peru, 559; Philosophic Scottish Rite, 562;
Poland, 5i4; Portugal, 576; Primitive Rite, 584; Prussia, 595; Ramsay, Andrew
Michael, 607; Rite, 626; Rose Croix, Prince of, 636, Saxony, 664 Schroeder, 669,
Scottish Rite, 671, Spain, 703, Starck, 712 Strasburg, Constitutions of, 729; Stuart
Masonry, 730; Supreme Councils, 741; Sweden, 744; Swedenborg, 745; Swedish
Rite, 747; Switzerland, 747; Thory, 783, Titles of Grand Lodges, 787; Torgau,
Constitutions of, 790; Tschoudy, 805; Turkey, 809, Venezuela, 826; Weishaupt,
Adam, 842; Zinnendorf, 876.
Acta Latomorum Thory. Allgemeines Handbuch der Freimaurerei (2 Vol.), A.Q.C.
(France), XVI, 181; XX, 15; XXIV, 107; XXVII, 22, 63, 96. A.Q.C. (Germany), I,
17, 161, II 159; V, 192; VIII, 240; IX, 55, 113, 146, 160, XIV, 83. Concise History of
Freemasonry, Gould. Early History and Antiquities of Freemasonry, Fort. Four Old
Lodges, Gould. Histoire des Trois Grandes Loges, Rebold. Histoire Pittoresque
Clavel. Historical Landmarks, Oliver. History of Freemasonry Findel. History of
Freemasonry, Gould. History of Freemasonry, Laurie. Mackey's Revised History of
Freemasonry Clegg. Origin of the Royal Arch, Hughan. Proceedings Grand Lodge of
Alabama, 1922. Proofs of a Conspiracy, Robison. Things a Freemason Should Know,
— o —
DON'T HURRY UPSTAIRS
A number of Grand Lodges have passed legislation to regulate advancement to the
Higher Degrees. There is little antipathy to Higher Degrees, as such, in this - a great
many active workers in Grand Lodges are themselves members of chapter, council,
commandery, or consistory - but a desire to halt the mad rush that carries so many
new Master Masons away from the lodge before they have learned the A B C's of it.
Usually the remedy adopted is to set a time limit in which a lodge member cannot
seek advancement. This is sound in purpose, but is it sufficient? How many Master
Masons are any better grounded in Symbolical Masonry at the end of a year than at
the end of a month ? It is not time that counts, but proficiency, so that a wiser plan is
to seek means of training every lodge member in the life and purpose of his lodge.
The remedy is not to get him more into lodge but to get more lodge into him.
All Higher Bodies, as they are called, should welcome every effort made to ground
Masons more thoroughly in fundamentals. The lodge is never so much the friend of
the chapter, council, commandery and consistory as when it insists that the one
passport to more light up the hill is faithful service in its own work and degrees. The
Mason who seeks to pass through the Higher Degrees before he has in his blood the
lessons of Apprentice, Fellow and Master is like a boy trying to enter high school
before he has studied his primer; he is as useless in the one as ridiculous in the other.
— o —
A Masonic Critic
BY this time our readers will have noted the addition to our Board of Associate
Editors of the name of Bro. Joseph E. Morcombe, Editor-in-Chief of the Masonic
Periodicals Corporation, publishers of The National Trestle Board, now merged with
THE BUILDER. Bro. Morcombe took a prominent place among the literati of the
American Craft when, in 1910, in association with Bro. W. F. Cleveland, he prepared
for the Grand Lodge of Iowa a history of that body; and at about the same time
launched The American Freemason, with headquarters at Storm Lake, Iowa. Within a
short time he made The Freemason the most learned and vigorous Masonic periodical
in the land, and that before there was as general a demand for scholarly Masonic
literature as there is now; a large number of the younger students and writers now
coming to the fore gained their first vision of the possibilities of Masonic study from
the articles written by Bro. Morcombe's exceptionally brilliant circle of contributors,
and from his own trenchant editorials.
He found a much wider audience in The National Trestle Board, which, had not the
Masonic Periodicals Corporation found it wiser to deal only with local fields, would
have undoubtedly continued to make its way to an ever increasing clientele. The
National Trestle Board was a noble journal, ample as to size, almost over generous in
quantity, and comprehensive in content, the controlling purpose of which was to bring
into focus all the activities of the Craft to the end that the goings on of the present
might be appraised at the court of Masonic opinion. Its passing was a national loss.
Bro. Morcombe's own writing is characterized by the tonic qualities of independence,
wide learning, wit, pointedness and a general disregard for smug prejudices and
ancient sophistries, with ever and anon a bit of irony, or a jab at some antagonist. He
has probably performed more surgical operations on the diseased organs of Masonic
theory than anyone amongst us, all of which is only another way of saying that he is a
"Critic" is a gift to us from the Greek language, in which "kritikos" was a beloved
word, and derived from an ancient root having the meaning of "able to discuss."
Webster now defines it as "one who expresses a reasoned opinion," which, if it be
correct, sets the word apart in splendid isolation, seeing how seldomly there is any
reasoning behind expressed opinions. Criticism is not fault-finding, destructiveness,
or opposition; it is not the critic, but the criticaster who loves to find fault; and it is
the criticaster, not the critic, who loves to split hairs in an argument:
"He is in Logic, a great critic
Profoundly skill'd in Analytic;
He can distinguish and divide
A hair 'twixt south and south-west side."
It was Socrates, apparently, who first discovered the great fun of being a critic, and it
was Plato who developed it into an art, giving it the high sounding name of
"dialectic," a term defined by Plato's famous pupil, Aristotle, as "a standard of
judging well." Later on when Kant set about laying the foundations of modern
thought he elected to use it in the title of his greatest book, The Critique of Pure
Reasons, a work that has caused countless headaches. In literature criticism has
become a fine art, the gospel of which was preached to us by Matthew Arnold with so
much suavity and address and with so much emphasis on the creative function of
literary appraisal; one needs only recall the names of some of the modern literary
critics to see how right Arnold was - St. Beuve, Hazlitt, Macaulay, Lowell,
Watts-Dunton, Taine, Gosse, Symons, Anatole France, Saintsbury, etc. - each of
whom has himself been a literary creator of the first rank.
The critic lets in light on dark places, opens the window to the air of heaven, tears the
disguise from sophistry, destroys obsolete dogmas, brings new theories to the test of
reason, and awakens men that have fallen asleep at their posts. He doesn't accept a
thing on anybody's say-so, but demands book and verse, and clings strenuously to his
one dogma, "that nothing is more sacred than a fact." It is this spirit that makes the
modern world modern, for it is the essence of modernity that nothing is so old or so
revered but that its value may be enhanced under the scrutiny of a "reasoned opinion"
offered by men with "a standard of judging well."
Criticism has a hard time of it in Freemasonry because we Masons are thin skinned
about the Craft; we have a sensitiveness, a feeling of reverence, a clinging fondness
for anything that has "Masonry" attached to it, so that it hurts our feelings to see
anything Masonic laid on the operating table. Nevertheless we raised up a breed of
critics in the past century who left a mighty tradition behind them, and one hard to
live up to. T. S. Parvin was essentially a critic, with small reverence for received
opinion; so was Josiah Haydon Drummond, the wielder of a big stick; and Albert
Pike, the hardest hitter of them all. If ever we get too softhearted to turn loose the
critic we shall suffer from it, because criticism is life and freshness in the mind,
without which everything grows stale
* * *
THE NESTORS OF THE CRAFT
"I have sometimes thought that this Organization was composed of the most sincere
workers and the least appreciated for their labors of any in the various endeavors of
Freemasonry, but as for myself if I never have any other reward than that of the happy
friendships I have formed among you for the past twenty years during which time not
a single one of you have ever caused me an unpleasant moment, but on the contrary
have brought much additional happiness into my life and inspired me with new
ambitions to devote myself to renewed efforts in behalf of our beloved Fraternity."
These words, written by Bro. Lou B. Winsor, Grand Secretary, and at the time
Fraternal Correspondent, Michigan, have no reference to a private club, a side order,
or a secret fraternity, nor were they written for a circle of private friends, though their
warmth might lead one to suppose as much; by "this Organization" was meant the
forty or more brethren who compose the Round Table of Fraternal Correspondents,
among whom Freemasonry is found in fullest and most fragrant flower.
Not all Masons, especially among those most recently come into the Craft, know of
the labor of these brethren, since their work is printed as an appendix to Grand Lodge
Proceedings, which are volumes seldomly read by the rank and file. The duty of a
Fraternal Correspondent, or Reviewer as he is sometimes called, is to pass in review
all Grand Lodge Proceedings so as to furnish his readers with a succinct outline of the
work of the Fraternity during the preceding year. With such a report before him a
Mason can take in at a glance the toil and achievements of the entire Fraternity during
These brethren maintain a high standard among themselves. Speaking for them all
Bro. Louis Block, himself a veteran at the Round Table, answered the query, What is
a Fraternal Correspondent ? in this manner:
"Well he is a sort of reporter and reviewer. It is his duty to tell his brethren of the
work of Masonry in the world at large, to tell them what Masonry means, and what it
stands for as interpreted in the expressions of thinking Masons the world over, and in
the achievements of the Craft, not only in other states but in foreign lands and climes
as well, in a word to give them Masonry up to date.
"As we conceive of it, the Report on Foreign Correspondence was designed to serve
as a sort of post-graduate course in a school of Masonry of which the writers of the
round table form the faculty. Its purpose is to give the Mason of one locality and one
state accurate information as to the achievements and accomplishments of Masonry in
other states and localities, and to show him what the Masonic institution stands for in
the world at large.
"Does the local Mason need this information? Most assuredly. For the Mason who
knows only his own Masonry is like the business man who knows nothing more than
his own personal, private, and peculiar methods who never studies the operations of
his associates and competitors, and whose business for that reason sooner or later dies
of stagnation and dry rot."
In nearly all instances Fraternal Correspondents are chosen because of their great
experience of the practical workings of Freemasonry. They are the Nestors of the
Craft. With a rich background of general Masonic knowledge, and with ripe wisdom
gained from years of practical services, they glance across the Masonic world in the
large, report what they see, encourage good work, dynamite errors from the root, and
among themselves maintain a critical but ever friendly habit of speaking out in
meeting, spicing their words the while with a deal of banter and good natured raillery.
Some of the ablest leaders of the Craft have wielded their influence largely through
these Reports. Bro. Aldro P. Jenks, P. G. M. Wisconsin, himself a Reviewer of nearly
thirty years of experience, recalled some of the "giants in those days" when making
his twenty-fifth Report:
"When I commenced the work, twenty-five years ago, there was a galaxy of brilliant
writers gathered at the 'Round Table.' We recall Greenleaf of Colorado, Robbins of
Illinois Parvin of Iowa, Drummond of Maine, Hedges of Montana, Cunningham of
Ohio, Diehl of Utah and Upton of Washington, all of whom have passed to their
reward. These writers constituted a 'Big Eight' that, by the consensus of their
opinions, determined most of the great questions coming before the Craft. They have
left the imprint of their services engraver deeply upon the annals of Freemasonry. For
years they have shaped and, for many decades to come, will continue to shape and
guide the traditions and practices of the Craft in the United States; because it is true
that it is the dead, and not the living, that rule and guide us "
The work of Josiah H. Drummond in this field was herculean; through the larger part
of the latter half of the nineteenth century he was Fraternal Correspondent for Maine,
and in addition, for many of those years, served in the same capacity for the other
Grand Bodies, most of which, like Grand Lodges, published Reports. Drummond was
the greatest master of Masonic Jurisprudence of his generation so that in all his
Reports, more than a hundred in number, there lies imbedded a mass of information
and of wisdom on that subject that should be rescued and published in book form.
Brethren often regret the lack of a national forum in which Masonic issues might be
fearlessly but with wide knowledge ventilated and discussed; if they will read a dozen
Reports published during the present year they will find their want already satisfied. It
is probable that, take them by and large, the brethren of the Round Table are the most
capable and the best informed men now writing on Masonry in this nation; it is
certain that some means should be found to bring their labors more widely to the
attention of the Craft, for in their Reports a Mason will find a school of Masonry,
wherein to learn history, jurisprudence, and the works of the present. If a Study Club
is looking about for a course of study, here is a suggestion: secure a copy of the last
Report issued by your Grand Lodge; map it out in lessons; and then go through it
carefully point by point. You will find in it a good year of work.
— o —
Bro. Frank C. Higgins' Theory of Masonry
"Ancient Freemasonry, an Introduction to the Study of Masonic Archaeology," by
Frank C. Higgins. Johnson Book & Stationery Co., Kansas City. May be purchased
through National Masonic Research Society. Red cloth, 463 pages, illustrated. $2.65
FRANK C. HIGGINS is a Past Master of Ivanhoe Lodge of New York City and the
author of quite a number of book and magazine articles, which have appeared during
the last ten or twelve years in Masonic literature over the country. Bro. Higgins
makes the attempt to connect the symbols of Freemasonry with ancient mathematical
and astronomical science and binds these closely with ancient philosophy and
theology through the evidence furnished by archeology.
All his books and articles from start to finish simply expand the subject by adding
further facts and incidents. His books are profusely illustrated with pictures of ancient
gods and sacred objects in which our ancient brethren had attempted to make known
fragments of their scientific discoveries. The main elements of Bro. Higgins' theory or
demonstration are drawn first from the facts of Gematria. It is a more or less
well-known fact that the letters of the Hebrew and Greek alphabets had a numerical
value. Those peoples did not seem to have any figures or characters to represent
numbers specially, but used letters for that purpose. When Bro. Higgins translated
many Hebrew and Greek proper names, especially the names of deities into their
numerical values, he found that the numbers thereby obtained were cosmic numbers:
that is, numbers that represented divisions of time and space, such as the number of
days in the year, or solar periods; the days in a month, or lunar periods; and the years
occupied in the passage of the precession of the equinoxes through the space of a
single sign or in the entire circle of the zodiac. In applying these numbers to the
representation of geometrical proportions, he found the figures thereby drawn to have
been employed by our ancient brethren in the attitudes and postures given to the
statues and pictures of the ancient gods and figures ornamenting ancient buildings.
Ancient geometry and astronomy seem to be closely connected with ancient theology
and the philosophy by which that theology was explained.
My first introduction to Bro. Higgins' work was a series of articles in the American
Freemason, published by Bro. Joseph Morcombe, at Storm Lake, Iowa, entitled
"Origins and Symbols of Freemasonry." The chapter which first attracted my
attention was on the geometrical origin of the signs of the zodiac. The drawings were
so significant, so perfect, so conclusive, that when I had finished the article I said to
myself. "A prophet has certainly arisen in Freemasonry at last." Bro. Higgins alone of
all the students of the subject has shown us what a symbol really is. We no longer
need hesitate as to which one of a thousand and one imaginative meanings we ought
or might apply to a newly discovered symbol. Its meaning is written in it plainly,
though it may require a little learning to decipher it. As the meaning of an English
word is bound up in the construction of that word and will appear, through the
application of more or less philological knowledge and study, so the meaning of a
truly ancient symbol will also appear, if our scientific knowledge of ancient geometry
and astronomy is sufficient. We no longer need wonder why the ancient Egyptian
gods all had their arms folded in a certain attitude. They all demonstrate the 10-5-6-5
of the J.H.V.H., the geometrical dimensions of the Jehovah trapezoid.
Bro. Higgins shows us in ancient symbolism the formation and government of a
cosmic universe of which the Ineffable Name is the geometrical key. It is an
astronomical fact that the inclination of the earth to the plane of the ecliptic is 23 1/2
degrees. This inclination is really the cause of the change of the seasons. If we draw a
line from the earth at the vernal equinox, along the ecliptic through the sun to the
earth at the autumnal equinox and divide that line into tell equal parts, then take a
sight to the north star from each of these points, we obtain our inclination of 23 1/2
degrees; if we go up this inclination five of the same dimensions as the ten we
originally made on either side, it will take a line exactly six of those dimensions to
connect the two points. In short, we have drawls a trapezoid of the dimensions
10-5-6-5, or Jehovah. If we take the great cross of the zodiac represented by the
summer solstice, the vernal equinox, the winter solstice and the autumnal equinox,
illustrated by the signs of the lion, the ox, the man and the eagle, we find that these
signs are in their position the fifth, second, eleventh and eighth, equalling twenty-six,
which, is the same as the numbers of the Ineffable Name, 10-5-6-5, also equalling
twenty-six. The stone winged bulls that stood at the entrance of all ancient Chaldean
and Assyrian palaces, which were cherubim made up of the same lion, ox, man and
eagle, were also indicative of the same Ineffable Name and the same grand cross of
the zodiac and the same seasons off the year. Thus, theology, astronomy, astrology
and mathematics were all merged in the one great philosophy, which is Masonry.
That is, it is Masonry if geometry and Masonry are, as the Ritual says, synonymous
The old Biblical proper names reveal by their numerical values and philological
make-up cosmic numbers of the most important astronomical, astrological and
philosophical facts that ancient science had discovered, and communicated those
sciences to those who had been properly instructed. Many of these old numbers in the
Bible like six hundred, three score and six, 666, that had caused so much speculation,
under Bro. Higgins' explanation become as plain as the Pythagorean problem. The
essential numbers of the Pythagorean triangle are 3-4-5 and we are delighted to find
that such words as Logos, A1 ShDI, Moses, Hermes and the Hebrew words that
represent "I am that I am" carry these very numbers. Add these numbers together and
they represent twelve, the number of the signs of the zodiac, and the three and four
show the movable heavenly bodies or planets under the ancient observation. The 3-4
and 5 are also the numbers of the Lesser Lights of Freemasonry, the Sun, Moon and
Hermes, the latter name being that of the planet Mercury, who was always indicated
as the Master of the Ancient Mysteries.
The symbols of Masonry may all be said to represent mathematical symbols of the
universe, developed in the days when philosophers worshipped Him who was the
Great Light, in whom there was no darkness at all. We read that the gold, which was
the metal of the sun, that came to Solomon in one year was 666 talents, besides the
gold that came to him in trade and tribute and all legitimate ways. This is the sum of
the numbers from one to thirty-six. It represents the number of Shamash-Sh-M-Sh,
the Hebrew spelling, equaling 640, and the number of Jehovah which we have said
was twenty-six, making in all 666, showing that Jehovah dwelt in the sun, that the sun
was His solar envelope or tabernacle, from which the beams of life and light
continually went forth to gladden and renew life on the earth.
We admit that some knowledge of Hebrew and Greek and the simple facts of
geometry and astronomy are necessary to appreciate to their full the meaning of Bro.
Higgins' demonstration. This fact was not made necessary by Bro. Higgins, but by the
fact that this philosophy came down from the long ago. Do not let us throw away his
book because it requires some knowledge to understand it.
The book which heads this review was written for a popular audience in the New
York Herald and it certainly ought to find enough erudition in the general Craft to
master it. Don't lay the book down with the exclamation, "It is too rich for my blood."
Don't let the great number of trees hide the forest. Bro. Higgins has done much to
make good on our brags that Freemasonry contains a store of hidden knowledge of
great value. Our ancient brethren, whether they belonged to our Order or not, were
surely Masons in the highest meaning of the word. They possessed theological sense
and they possessed mathematical sense and they never made the two incompatible.
They did not split hairs over the legitimacy of their Masonic standing. We read that
any recognized Driest might enter and pray in any temple, no matter what its location.
Their organization may have been quite clandestine, so far as our examiners make
out, but their knowledge is surely Masonic knowledge. If not now, it ought to be as
soon as our membership can make it so. The writer has seen and talked with Bro.
Higgins of New York while sitting quietly in his office, and as Eugene Field said of
Dana of the New York Sun, "He won't do no living human being harm."
Rollin C. Blackmer, M. D.
FREEMASONRY AS A FORM OF MYSTICISM
"The Meaning of Masonry," by W. L. Wilmshurst. Published by William Rider &
Son, Ltd., London. May be purchased through National Masonic Research Society.
Black cloth, 216 pages. $3.60 postpaid.
There is an old saying that "religions are many but religion is one." This idea appeals
with peculiar power to minds of a certain type, especially those that are made
uncomfortable by diversity and opposition and prefer unity and agreement. The idea
is not true in the strictly historical sense, because there has been the greatest possible
variety among religions on the most fundamental matters of doctrine and faith, so that
no amount of juggling can make them teach the same thing; but even so there is a
truth in the idea, because the religious needs of men have always and everywhere
been pretty much the same.
This belief that a certain unity underlies all the diversities of faith is made the point of
departure by the mystical school of interpreters of Freemasonry. The brethren of that
school hold that for centuries and centuries the wiser and more devout among the
adherents of all religions have among themselves understood and held a doctrine of
faith too broad to be given to the multitude, and that they have therefore preserved it
as a Secret Doctrine, given only to the initiated, or to those otherwise prepared to
receive it. It is contended by these brethren that in our times Freemasonry is the
custodian of this Secret Doctrine, the truths of which are hidden away among our
symbols, to be known only by the inner circle.
Bro. Wilmshurst belongs to this school. On page 7 of his book we find him saying:
"Thus in the five papers I have sought to provide a survey of the whole Masonic
subject as expressed by the Craft and Arch Degrees, which it is hoped may prove
illuminating to the increasing number of brethren who feel that Freemasonry
enshrines something deeper and greater than, in the absence of guidance, they have
been able to realize. It does not profess to be more than an elementary and far from
exhaustive survey; the subject might be treated much more fully, in more technical
terminology and with abundant references to authorities, were one compiling a more
ambitious and scholarly treatise. But to the average Mason such a treatise would
probably prove less serviceable than a summary expressed in as simple and
untechnical terms as may be and unburdened by numerous literary references. Some
repetition, due to the papers having been written at different times, may be found in
later chapters of points already dealt with in previous ones, though the restatement
may be advantageous in emphasizing those points and maintaining continuity of
exposition. For reasons explained in the chapter itself, that on the Holy Royal Arch
will probably prove difficult of comprehension by those unversed in the literature and
psychology of religious mysticism, if so, the reading of it may be deferred or
neglected. But since a survey of the Masonic system would, like the system itself, be
incomplete without reference to that supreme degree, and since that degree deals with
matters of advanced psychological and spiritual experience about which explanation
must always be difficult, the subject has been treated here with as much simplicity of
statement as is possible and rather with a view to indicating to what great heights of
spiritual attainment the Craft Degrees point as achievable, than with the expectation
that they will be readily comprehended by readers without some measure of mystical
experience and perhaps unfamiliar with the testimony of the mystics thereto.
"Purposely these papers avoid dealing with matters of Craft history and of merely
antiquarian or archaeological interest. Dates, particulars of Masonic constitutions,
historical changes and developments in the external aspects of the Craft, references to
old lodges and the names of outstanding people connected therewith - these and such
like matters can be read about elsewhere. They are all subordinate to what alone is of
vital moment and what so many brethren are hungering for - knowledge of the
spiritual purpose and lineage of the Order and the present-day value of rites of
"In giving these pages to publication care has been taken to observe due reticence in
respect of essential matters. The general nature of the Masonic system is, however,
nowadays widely known to outsiders and easily ascertainable from many printed
sources, whilst the large interest in and output of literature upon mystical religion and
the science of the inward life during the last few years has familiarized many with a
subject of which, as is shown in these papers, Masonry is but a specialized form. To
explain Masonry in general outline is, therefore, not to divulge a subject which is
entirely exclusive to its members, but merely to show that Masonry stands in line
with other doctrinal systems inculcating the same principles and to which no secrecy
attaches, and that it is a specialized and highly effective method of inculcating those
principles. Truth, whether as expressed in Masonry or otherwise, is at all times an
open secret, but is as a pillar of light to those able to receive and profit by it, and to all
others but one of darkness and unintelligibility. An elementary and formal secrecy is
requisite as a practical precaution against the intrusion of improper persons and for
preventing profanation. In other respects the vital secrets of life, and of any system
expounding life, protect themselves even though shouted from the housetops, because
they mean nothing to those as yet unqualified for the knowledge and unready to
identify themselves with it by incorporating it into their habitual thought and
The author makes a more explicit statement of his position in a passage on page 25:
"All that I wish to emphasize at this stage is that our present system is not one coming
from remote antiquity: that there is no direct continuity between us and the Egyptians,
or even those ancient Hebrews who built, in the reign of King Solomon, a certain
Temple at Jerusalem. What is extremely ancient in Freemasonry is the spiritual
doctrine concealed within the architectural phraseology; for this doctrine is an
elementary form of the doctrine that has been taught in all ages, no matter in what
garb it has been expressed."
It follows from this, according to the thesis, that the supreme aim of Masonic
education is to awaken among Masons a sense of their hidden treasure, and to incite
them to search diligently for it:
"What then was the purpose the framers of our Masonic system had in view when
they compiled it? To this question you will find no satisfying answer in ordinary
Masonic books. Indeed there is nothing more dreary and dismal than Masonic
literature and Masonic histories, which are usually devoted to considering merely
unessential matters relating to the external development of the Craft and to its
antiquarian aspect. They fail entirely to deal with its vital meaning and essence, a
failure that, in some cases, may be intentional, but that more often seems due to lack
of knowledge and perception, for the true, inner history of Masonry has never yet
been given forth even to the Craft itself. There are members of the Craft to whom it is
familiar, and who in due time may feel justified in gradually making public at any
rate some portion of what is known in interior circles. But ere that time comes, and
that the Craft itself may the better appreciate what can be told, it is desirable, nay
even necessary, that its own members should make some effort to realize the meaning
of their own institution, and should display symptoms of earnest desire to treat it less
as a system of archaic and perfunctory rites, and more as a vital reality capable of
entering into and dominating their lives: less as a merely pleasant social order, and
more as a sacred and serious method of initiation into the profoundest truths of life. It
is written that ‘to him that hath shall be given, and from him that hath not shall be
taken away even that which he hath’ ; and it remains with the Craft itself to determine
by its own action whether it shall enter into its full heritage, or whether by failing to
realize and to safeguard the value of what it possesses, by suffering its own mysteries
to be vulgarized and profaned, its organization will degenerate and pass into disrepute
and deserved oblivion, as has been the fate of many secret orders in the past."
The Meaning of Masonry is a book to be valued whether a man can agree with the
author's thesis or not, for it is full of a serene wisdom, rich with insight, and written in
a style of quiet beauty, reminiscent at times of Hutchinson's Spirit of Masonry.
Underneath all its pages is that seriousness of purpose and spiritual urgency which
only religious minds feel about the Craft, as witness the closing paragraph of the
"'Get knowledge, get wisdom; but with all thy gettings, get understanding,' exclaims
the old Teacher, in a counsel that may well be commended to the Masonic Fraternity
today, which so little understands its own system. But understanding depends upon
the gift of the Supernal Light, which gift in turn depends upon the ardour of our desire
for it. If wisdom today is widowed all Masons are actually or potentially the widow's
sons, and she will be justified of her children who seek her out and who labour for her
as for hid treasure. It remains with the Craft itself whether it shall enter upon its own
heritage as a lineal successor of the Ancient Mysteries and Wisdom-teaching, or
whether, by failing so to do, it will undergo the inevitable fate of everything that is
but a form from which its native spirit has departed."
* * *
THE ARCHITECTURAL FEVER
The immense building program now being carried out by all branches of the Craft in
this land is in a large way an unmitigated blessing, but in some instances is proving a
curse by being overdone, reminding one of the Socrates dictum, that "vice is an
extension of virtue." If a new building saddles a small lodge with a killing mortgage,
or raises dues to unfair heights, or cuts down the lodge's funds for Masonic relief, the
new building had better be left among the castles in Spain.
At its Annual Communication in May, 1922, the Grand Lodge of Maine adopted a
Resolution reading in this fashion:
"Be it Voted, That the Following Standing Regulation he adopted:
"'That no building shall be purchased, erected or extensively constructed at the
expense, in whole or in part, of any lodge in this jurisdiction until the plans of the
same, and terms, and conditions of its construction or acquisition shall have been
approved by the Grand Master.'"
In a personal letter Bro. Charles B. Davis, Grand Secretary, comments on this
"Permit me to say that this regulation was adopted because several of our small
lodges down in the country had undertaken to build halls and as a result found
themselves facing debts which will be hard for them to recover from. Even in one of
our cities the several bodies built a temple with the result that they have been
struggling for years now to annually raise money enough to pay the interest on the
mortgage. Therefore the regulation above referred to was adopted."
One will watch with interest the outcome of the Regulation adopted by Maine. If
there is any fault in it it is because it lays one more responsibility on an office already
overloaded. Other Grand Lodges have found a way out by adopting a set of rules to
govern the per capita indebtedness of constituent lodges; this works automatically,
equally and impartially.
— o —
THE QUESTION BOX
DR. COPELAND A MASON
Is Senator Royal S. Copeland, New York, a member of our Order ?
W. C. M„ Ohio.
STONE, WILBUR, DENBY
Please tell me if the new Attorney General Stone is a Mason; also the new Secretary
of the Navy Wilbur, and the former Secretary Denby.
W. C. S., Louisiana.
According to our advices neither Mr. Stone nor Mr. Wilbur is a member of the Craft;
Edwin Denby is a member of Oriental Lodge, No. 240, F. & A. M., Detroit, iMich.
* * *
MASONRY NOT IN BUSINESS
I have some reason to ask if a certain life insurance organization of Virginia is
operating with the approval of the Grand Lodge of Virginia.
F. B. C., Michigan.
Grand Secretary Charles A. Nesbitt informs us that the organization mentioned by
you is not approved but condemned by the Grand Lodge of Virginia. It is against all
laws of Masonry, written or unwritten, for the word "Mason" to be used in any way
by any kind of business organization or enterprise whatsoever.
MEANING OF AM B'TSAFN
In the Royal Arch Degree, as practiced in Scotland there is used the term "Am
B'Tsafn"; can you explain the meaning of it? D. F. K., Ontario.
Bro. George A. Howell, Grand Scribe E, Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of
Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland, has written to explain the term in this wise:
In the Hebrew of the term you should read "H" as meaning "the"; "AM" as meaning
"way"; "B"'as meaning "in, to or on", and "Tsafn" as "something concealed or
hidden." According to our ritual, the Sojourners in the course of their work at the
ruins of the old Temple, removing some rubbish, found a large brazen ring fixed to a
broad flat stone with the words Am B'Tsafn engraved thereon. On removing the stone
they found the crown of a perfect arch. On removing the keystone, etc., and
descending into the vault, they found it was King Solomon's secret vault of which
reference is made in the Mark ritual.
* * *
SCIENCE AND FREEMASONRY
I read the April copy of THE BUILDER with interest. I read all my copies of THE
BUILDER that way and then lend them around to my friends. One question was
raised by an editorial in the April copy, "Modem Science and the Science of
Masonry." Don't you believe there is danger in science? It appears to be working to
destroy our old beliefs. I believe that God and the Holy Bible are the roots of
Masonry and if they go Masonry will not last long. Shouldn't THE BUILDER and all
other of the Masonic magazines come to the defense of our Ark of Faith against the
science that tries to destroy it?
P. Y. T., Missouri.
Your inquiry somewhat falls outside our province so that what is here said in reply to
you must be read as expressing only the personal opinion of the writer, leaving an
ultimate decision to the collective wisdom of the Craft. What do you mean by
"science"? Is it not a vague and too inclusive word that needs defining every time it is
used? There are sciences and sciences, but no science, except in the sense that all the
sciences make use of the same general methods and principles. Also is there not a
danger of confusing the theories of the sciences with their facts? Each man must
decide in his own mind what he is to think of this or that theory held by some scientist
as to the age of the earth, the origin of the human race, how the Bible came to be and
what it means, and on all other such subjects as are now being so widely
controverted. But a fact is a fact, however it may be discovered, and there can be no
two opinions as to what is to be done with it; every man is under a moral obligation to
accept a fact as a fact, whatever may be his theories. The facts and realities of science
are omnipresent in our lives. It is science that prints the page you are now reading;
that created the schools in which you learned to read; that digs the coal which warms
your house; that carries you about in your automobile; that manufactures the food you
purchase in your grocery store; that carries your conversation over the telephone wire;
that brings music to you over your radio; that makes your clothes, your furniture, the
pictures on your walls and the money in your pocket; it sits at your bedside when you
are ill, and buries you when you are dead. Every physician, school teacher, lawyer,
chemist, engineer, and almost every other trained man is in some sense, and to some
degree, a scientist. To make war on science is to make war on civilization.
A CHINESE W. M.
I know that Masons in the United States will find it interesting to learn that a
Chinaman has been elected W. M. of one of our lodges. I quote here an excerpt from
The Honolulu Advertiser, a daily published in Honolulu, under date of Dec. 3, 1923:
"As the first Chinese Worshipful Master of an American lodge of Free and Accepted
Masons, Apau Paul Low, county engineer of Maui, is enjoying an unusual distinction,
which was conferred upon him Saturday night at the annual election of officers of
Maui Lodge, No. 742, held in the Masons' building at Kahului, Maui.
"Low is one of the Chinese to be found on every island of the Hawaiian group who is
a thirty-second degree Mason. He also is a member of Aloha Temple of the Mystic
Shrine. Masons of Hawaii are said to pride themselves on their broadmindedness in
admitting Chinese to membership in their Order.
"Being elected at the age of 32 years enhances the honor bestowed upon Low, who
was bom in Honolulu July 22, 1891. He is the son of Yee Sing Low, a former
merchant of Honolulu and Ho Shee Low. Both parents are dead. Low was graduated
from the McKinley high school in 1910.
"After the meeting of Maui Lodge Saturday night, Shriners of Maui met and formed a
Shrine club. Noble D. C. Lindsay banker of Kahului, Maui, was elected first president
of the organization. Masons of Kauai plan to obtain a dispensation soon to install a
Masonic lodge on that island. There are now six Masonic lodges on Hawaii, four on
Oahu, one on Maui, and one on Hawaii. All Masonic lodges of the territory are under
the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of California."
Walter R. Coombs, Honolulu.
TEXAS DOES NOT SPECIFY NUMBER OF DEGREES
Our lodge bulletin carries an item about Texas. It says that the Grand Lodge of Texas
has, at its last annual communication, forbidden constituent lodges to give more than
ninety degrees during the year. What do you think about this ?
R. W. T., Louisiana.
It was news to us that Texas had taken any such action. Your inquiry was referred to
Bro. W. B. Pearson, Grand Secretary, Texas, who writes that while he knows that
such a report has gone abroad he is at a loss to explain what started it. "I cannot state
where this report started, but I can assure you that there was not an amendment of this
nature that was adopted at the last meeting of the Grand Lodge." If such a thing had
happened our opinion would be that there is a better way of dealing with the "degree
mill evil" than through Grand Lodge regulation. The same impulse that leads
American citizens at large to refer all their troubles to the Federal Government leads
them inside the Masonic Craft to pile all their problems on the already over-burdened
shoulders of Grand Lodge. If this habit continues Grand Lodges will become
over-organized, top-heavy and paternalistic, and that will lead to a bureaucratic
control of Masonry, a worse evil than any we are now suffering from. In this
connection there is point to a paragraph recently published in an article in The
Montana Mason, by its editor, Bro. R. J. Lemert, a portion of which reads in this
"The 'blue' lodge is not a 'subordinate' lodge; it is a constituent lodge, which is a
vastly different thing. The Grand Lodge exists only by the will of the 'blue' lodges;
the powers it exercises are delegated, and not inherent, and if the Master Masons'
lodges in a given state were to cease work, the Grand Lodge would automatically find
itself non-existent. In other words, the Master Mason's lodge is supreme, and the
Grand Lodge merely its creature...."
* * *
PRINCIPLES GOVERNING FRATERNAL RECOGNITION IN G. L. OF NEW
According to my readings here and there the Grand Lodge of New York has its own
theories about what foreign bodies should be granted fraternal recognition. Has that
Grand Lodge ever made public the theory on which it works in such cases ? I should
like to have this answered in THE BUILDER.
C. F. L., Pennsylvania.
Grand Secretary Robert Judson Kenworthy has furnished the complete formula as
adopted by the Grand Lodge of New York. It is self-explanatory:
"Before a recommendation of fraternal recognition of a foreign Grand Body may be
submitted, it shall be ascertained by the Committee on Foreign Correspondence:
I. That such Grand Body has been formed lawfully by at least three just and duly
constituted lodges, or that it has been legalized by valid act issuing from the Grand
Lodge of New York or from a Grand Body in fraternal relations with this Grand
II. That it is a responsible, independent, self-governing organization with sole,
undisputed and exclusive authority over the symbolic lodges of its jurisdiction, and
not in any sense whatever subject to, or dividing such authority with, a Supreme
Council or other power claiming ritualistic or other supervision or control;
III. That its membership is composed of men exclusively, and that it entertains no
Masonic relations with mixed lodges or bodies admitting women into their
IV. That it adheres in principle to the Ancient Landmarks, traditions, customs and
usages of the Craft, as set forth in the Constitutions adopted by the Grand Lodge of
England in 1723;
V. That it meets in particular, the following tests which the Grand Lodge of New
York considers essential to acceptance of a foreign Grand Body into its fellowship:
(1) Acknowledgment of a belief in God the Father of all men,
(2) Belief in immortality,
(3) Presence of the Three Great Lights of Masonry in the lodges while at work, chief
among them the Sacred Book of the Divine Law,
(4) Exclusion of controversial political and sectarian religious discussion from the
lodges and from all meetings held under the auspices of a lodge.
VI. While the Grand Lodge of New York claims exclusive jurisdiction in the territory
in which it is the supreme Masonic authority, it recognizes that the law of exclusive
territorial jurisdiction, while firmly established in the United States and many other
countries, is not universally accepted and does not constitute an Ancient Landmark of
the Universal Craft. To the end that no unwarranted impediment may exclude from
our fellowship such Grand Bodies as are sharing the same territory with others by
mutual consent we shall accept such mutual consent as entitling the several Grand
Bodies included therein to fraternal consideration, providing the applicant for
recognition does not presume to extend its authority into, or presume to establish
lodges in, a territory occupied by a lawful Grand Lodge, without the expressed assent
of such supreme governing body."
* * *
LIGHT WANTED ON MASONIC FUNERAL CUSTOMS
I have just come across something which is either so very old it does not deserve
resurrection, having been long ago threshed out to the entire satisfaction of the Craft,
or else it may serve as another new thought for the research fiends and for
deliberation. At a Masonic funeral recently, the undertaker, who is Mason, and whose
church affiliation I do not know, expressed himself to the Episcopalian clergyman,
who had officiated, al follows: "I do not see why they have to bury a man twice."
I take it that this refers to that part of our ritual which is generally termed
"committal." While it never occurred to me before I now realize I had subconsciously
watched this duplication of effort before and thought it rather superfluous, but let that
pass. Now I wonder, after reading so much about revision and Church of England
domination in our parent body, whether it might not be that this Church of England
ritualism was injected into A. F. and A. M. ceremonies, and if so, what might be the
reason for it, and if it is not in fact superfluous, would it not have a tendency to make
all men think more of churches if they alone committed us to Mother Earth?
W. Paul Babcock, New York.
Bro. Babcock's letter is referred to research fiends and to our readers in general. Will
not such as have information on this subject send it, along with their views thereof, to
THE BUILDER ?
* * *
A NEW SPECIAL RESEARCH GROUP
A new special research group to devote itself to Freemasonry of Revolutionary times
is now being formed under the auspices of the National Masonic Research Society.
The chairman in charge will be Bro. Paul V. Knudsen, 1703 Harvard avenue, Seattle,
Wash. If you desire to join this group communicate directly with Bro. Knudsen or
else send a letter to Ye Editor
* * *
INDEX FOR 1923
There are still some copies on hand of the index of THE BUILDER, 1923, which
members of the N.M.R.S. may secure by sending a request.
— o —
YE EDITOR'S CORNER
The three pictures illustrating the Crusades, printed in the present issue, were taken
from History of the Crusades, by Michaud, a massive work in two huge volumes,
crammed with full page drawings by Gustave Dore. The edition used was published
by George Barrie, Philadelphia, no date. Students of Crusaders' costumes would find
this work of value.
* * *
Milo J. Gabriel, Grand Master of Iowa, had the privilege, April 15 last, of raising his
own son to the Sublime Degree. In his address to his son he said: "I was proud of you
as a boy. I am still prouder of you as a man and I am glad you have started out thus
early to follow my footsteps. There is no grander institution on earth than
Freemasonry." Well said!
* * *
I have come upon a reference to History of Masonry, by Leggett. Do you know
anything about this book? I don't.
* * *
Prohibition has had no effect on the poets. See what some bard has perpetrated on us!
"I saw a cow slip through the fence
A horse fly in the store;
I saw a board walk up the street,
A stone step by the door.
"I saw a mill race up the road,
A morning break the gloom;
I saw a night fall on the lawn
A clock run in the room.
"I saw a peanut stand up high.
A sardine box in town
I saw a bed spring at the gate
An ink stand on the ground.”